carp's crazy thoughts for a Thursday: Comparing recruiting data, BCS rankings, and the salaries of coaches.

I believe this is the first crazy thought of the season.  Other posts in this series can be found here, here, and here.  The key piece to this post is the following chart:



Analysis after the Yump.

These 44 teams have appeared in Rivals Top 25 recruiting rankings in the past 5 years (some, of course, not every year).  I used this to try and find an "appropriate sample."  All should know that star ratings are slanted towards the "traditional" powerhouses because that sells subscriptions.  However, it’s the best system we have (sound like the BCS?).

Cal ranks #20 in the average star rankings over the last 5 years according to Rivals.  The 19 teams in front of them are all the traditional powerhouses.  Since 2005, Cal’s average star ratings have dropped 0.48 stars and Cal has been below their 5 season mean (3.13) for the last 3 seasons.  Of those 44 teams, only 15 are currently ranked in the latest BCS standings.

USA Today notes that several programs didn’t wish to include all or parts of their coaching salaries including Pitt, Notre Dame, Stanfurd, USC, Penn St, and Florida.  It appears many of these coaches get paid in creative ways.  I believe Wilner wrote recently that Harbaugh makes somewhere between $750k and $1.25 million.  I went with $1 million, but that’s just a guess because they declined to participate.  Weis’ salary was found from federal tax documents by USA Today.

Jeff Tedford’s total salary (not including bonuses) is tied for 8th on the list and is 2nd highest in the Pac10.  Cal ranks 17th nationally in amount spent on all coaches.

Cal is second to last in total assistant coach (TAC) salaries at $1.458 million.  On that list, only Minnesota pays their coaches less.  This places them either #7 or #8 in the Pac10, depending on how much the ‘furd pays their coaches and assuming that USC pays their coaches well.  Of this list, I count 25 schools that pay their coaches $500k more than Cal.  Fiducial markers include public schools like UCLA (nearly $400k higher), Washington ($600k higher), Texas ($1.5 million higher), North Carolina ($500k higher) and Missouri ($700k higher).  Note that I didn’t even mention the SEC schools.  If one considers the cost of living in the Bay Area or SoCal compared to anywhere else, then these numbers become particularly alarming.

I found the comparison between the HC salary and the TAC salaries to be very interesting.  Of the participating schools, the difference between these two categories is $100k or less at Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Florida St, Maryland, ASU, and Oregon.  If Cal, for example, paid all of their assistants $100k less than what Tedford makes, they’d have the third highest TAC payroll in the nation.  Cal is behind only Florida, Texas, and Ohio St for the largest difference between HC salary and TAC salaries.  Of those four schools, guess who pays both their HC and assistants less?  Did I mention cost of living?  Additionally, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Clemson have TAC salaries that are $980k or higher than the HC salary.  I counted 15 schools on that list that have higher TAC salaries than HC salary.

I’m not advocating that Coach Tedford operate his football program like UCOP.  However, it’s starting to appear that Cal Football is losing this arms race both regionally and nationally.  While guys like Lupoi and Gould seem like excellent coaches from the reports I’ve read, Cal’s replaced two recent departures (Coaches M and Cignetti) with two journeymen (Coaches Marshall and Ludwig).  Coach Marshall probably has enough NFL and college apparel to start his own Champs store while Ludwig’s jumped from Oregon-->Utah-->K-St (for like 5 min)-->Cal.  Despite this I believe both are making what appear to be excellent salaries (6 figures), but perhaps compared to assistants at other schools they’re underpaid.  Coach Lupoi, a grad assistant who seemed to only be valuable to Cal at the time, was aggressively promoted to D-line coach.  While he seems like a solid pickup, would it have been possible to bring him along more slowly and hire a more experienced coach to man one of the most important positions in football?  Was this a budget-driven move?  Tennessee and their ridiculous bankroll hired former Mississippi head coach and renowned recruiter Ed Orgeron as their D-line coach.

Let’s look at the resume of Cal’s WR coach Kevin Daft:

Coaching Accomplishments
• Enters his second year as the team's wide receivers coach after one season working with the quarterbacks.
• Took over a young group of Cal receivers that had just 13 career catches as a unit entering 2008 and has turned them into an experienced group that will battle each other for playing time in 2009.
• Hired as the Bears' full-time quarterbacks coach in January of 2007 and helped the team's signal-callers throw for over 3,000 yards for just the sixth time in program history.
• Spent three years working with the Cal offensive line as a graduate assistant, assisting with game-planning, opponent scouting and individual player development.
• Coached the quarterbacks for one season at UC Davis, his alma mater.

Accomplishments as a Player
• Selected in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft by Tennessee and was a quarterback for the Titans during their run to the 1999 Super Bowl.
• Also a member of the San Diego Chargers (2000), Atlanta Falcons (2000) and San Francisco 49ers (2001) before rejoining the Titans in 2002, where he set an NFL Europe record by throwing for 30 career touchdown passes.
• Led the Scottish Claymores to the NFL Europe World Bowl in 2000 and played for the Amsterdam Admirals in 2002.
• Spent two seasons in the Arena Football League, with the San Jose SaberCats in 2003 and the Indiana Firebirds in 2004.
• One of the most prolific passers in the history of UC Davis, Daft set five NCAA Division II records and still ranks third in passing yards (7,601) and second in touchdown passes (68) at the school.
• A two-time All-American who led the Aggies to the Divison II semifinals.
• Also a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy and played in both the Hula Bowl and the Blue-Gray All-Star game.
• Inducted into the UC Davis Athletic Hall of Fame in June 2005.


I’m no HydroTech, but I don’t see much in the way of "WR experience."

Let’s look at the resume of TE/Special Teams Coordinator Pete Alamar:

Coaching Accomplishments

• Has coached four teams that won at least 10 games with his 1993 and 1998 Arizona teams going 10-2 and 12-1, respectively, and 10-2 and 10-3 seasons with the Golden Bears in 2004 and 2006.
• Coached 2008 freshman All-American punter Bryan Anger to second team All-Pac-10 honors and Ray Guy Award semifinalist recognition in his rookie collegiate season.
• Has coached tight ends that have been selected in the NFL Draft in each of the last two seasons in Cameron Morrah (Seattle, 2009, seventh round) and Craig Stevens (Tennessee, 2008, third round) with Stevens also a two-time All-Pac-10 choice.
• Has placed specialists on All-Pac-10 teams in each of the last six years - Bryan Anger, Jahvid Best, Mike McGrath and Byron Storer.
• Alamar's special teams flourished during the 2006 season, when the Bears ranked fourth in the nation in punt returns (17.26) and eighth in net punting (38.27), and Sporting News rated Cal's special teams units as the best in the Pac-10 in its 2007 preview issue.
• All-American punt returner DeSean Jackson led the nation in punt return average in 2006 (18.20), including a national-best and Pac-10 record four returns for touchdowns.
• In 2005, Cal ranked fifth nationally and second in the Pac-10 in punt return average (15.64). Tim Mixon ranked ninth in the country in punt returns (14.9) in 2005.
• Placekicker Tom Schneider set a school record for most PATs in 2004 with 56.
• While working with the defensive line at Arizona in 1993, the Wildcats led the nation in rushing defense and ranked second in the NCAA in total defense.

Prominent Pupils

• Mike Lucky (Arizona) - All-Pac-10 tight end that played in the Hula Bowl and then spent four seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
• Brandon Manumaleuna (Arizona) - Two-time All-Pac-10 tight end that has played eight seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers.
• Cameron Morrah (California) - Selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft after making a team-high eight touchdown receptions last season.
• Paul Shields (Arizona) - H-Back played two seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.
• Craig Stevens (California) - A third round NFL Draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008; All-Pac-10 honoree at tight end.
• Byron Storer (California) - Three-time All-Pac-10 selection as a special teams player who has spent the last two NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after signing as a free agent in 2007.

Accomplishments as a Player

• Earned three letters as an offensive guard/offensive tackle, one at Western Oregon and two at Cal Lutheran.
• Played on two national playoff teams, one at each school.

Coaching History

2003-Present CaliforniavSpecial Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends

2002 Eastern Michigan Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends

2000-01 Eastern Michigan Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line

1998-99 Arizona Special Teams/Tight Ends

1997 Arizona Special Teams/Linebackers

1996 Arizona Special Teams/Tight Ends

1995 Arizona Tight Ends

1994 Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon Head Coach

1993 Arizona Graduate Assistant

1991-92 James Madison Tight Ends/Defensive Assistant

1987-88 Cal Poly Running Backs

1985-86 Cal Lutheran Offensive Line

1984 Louisiana-Lafayette Graduate Assistant

1983 Cal Poly Graduate Assistant

I particularly enjoyed the 1994 entry, where the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon made ALAMAARRRRRRRRRRR their head coach.  Let’s say he had a couple of nice seasons in Arizona where he may or may not have been THE KEY, and now he’s been coaching the special teams at Cal for too long.  No wonder Anger went to high school coach.  What the hell is a guard from Cal Lutheran going to teach him about punting?  However, I must say he’s done a good job with the tight ends.


Let’s look at the resume of Recruiting Coordinator/LB Coach Kenwick Thompson:

Coaching Accomplishments
• Joined the Golden Bear coaching staff in January of 2007 after six years with the San Jose State program.
• Cal's returning linebackers rank first in the Pac-10 among returning linebackers in tackles (334) and second in sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (26.5).
• The Bear linebackers accounted for 48 percent of Cal's sacks and 43 percent of the team's tackles for loss in 2007 while also forcing seven fumbles.
• Coached the defensive tackles at San Jose State in 2006, helping the Spartans advance to the New Mexico Bowl, where they defeated host New Mexico. It was the program's first bowl victory since 1990 as well as its first nine-win season since 1990.
• The Spartans ranked third in the Western Athletic Conference in both scoring defense and total defense in 2006.
• After joining the San Jose State staff in 2001 as its linebackers coach, Thompson added recruiting coordinator duties from 2002 to 2004.
• Also spent seven years at Texas Southern University, including the last five (1996-2000) as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Accomplishments as Player
• A two-time all-conference selection and his conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 at Harding.
• Served as a team captain.
• Recorded 30 career quarterback sacks, a school record that still stands, and led the Bison in sacks in each of his last two seasons.

Coaching History

2007 - California Linebackers

2006 SJSU Defensive Tackles

2005 SJSU Strength & Conditioning Coach

2004 SJSU D-line/Co-Recruiting Coordinator/Co-Special Teams

2002-2003 SJSU LB/Recruiting Coordinator

2001 SJSU LB Coach

1996-2000 Texas Southern Asst Head Coach/DC

1995 Texas Souther D-line/Recruiting Coordinator

1994 Texas Southern RB Coach

1991-1992 Harding Grad Asst

1990 Italian-American Football Association Assistant Coach

I love the job he’s done with recruiting, particularly in Texas and Louisiana.  However, his resume suggests he has modest experience with LB’s and very little BCS-caliber LB experience. 

My point: Is Tedford’s budget so tight that he’s uncompetitive for assistant coaches or does he simply not want "guys like that" in his program?  Is Cal hiring the best coaches or bottom-of-the-barrel types?  If Cal paid Coach M more, would he have left for UDub and then the Raiders?  I see a bunch of coaches who either have experience at inferior institutions, have experience at other positions, have little experience altogether, or have bounced around more established programs/NFL teams.  I suppose the answer is what it always is, "I dunno, but I’m sure they’re doing their best!" but I’d be interested to hear the opinions of others. 

carp’s knee-jerk, half-baked, $0.02 opinion: 

  • Let Bob Gregory go.  Cal’s regressed defensively.  Call it a change of pace or what not.  He had a modest resume to begin with, he’s had plenty of chances, and Cal’s come a long way since the 2001 season.  Time to take this to the next level.
  • Offer Ron English three times the money he’s currently making as HC at E.  Michigan and make him the DC.  That would be $900k, as USA Today reports his current salary at $300k.  I don’t give a damn if he runs a 4-3, 3-4, or a hybrid so long as it works.
  •  Keep Lupoi and Thompson at the same salary and have them co-coach D-line/pass rushing LB’s.  Keep Thompson as Recruiting Coordinator.  Give them slight raises for being good sports. 
  • Hire a LB coach who either emphasizes stopping the run, coverage, or both.  Having an established BCS school track record without owning a Champs sporting goods store would be ideal.
  •  Say to Al Simmons "WTF, this ain’t the ’03 Niners or Cal St Hayward!"
  •  Keep Alamar at the same salary and have him coach the TE’s.
  •  Hire an established Special Teams Coordinator (again, BCS track record w/o owning a Champs).  If this person thinks it’s a good idea, hire a kicking game specialist who, you know, has actually kicked a football (Tom Schneider?).
  •  Hire a WR coach who’s actually has WR experience either from their playing career or coaching career.  Again, this hire will have a quality resume.
  •  Keep Daft at the same salary and make him your QB coach since he is, after all, a QB by training and the most prolific DII passer evair.  Allow Ludwig and Tedford to do their respective jobs but to interject when the QB’s have less than Aaron Rodgers-like form.  Groom him so that perhaps he or Gould could be the next OC if Ludwig leaves or gets fired.
  •  Pay Ron Gould whatever the hell he wants.  Do not lose him.
  •  Give Ludwig a raise.  I like ‘em, let’s keep him here.  He doesn’t need to be the 45th highest paid assistant coach.
  •  Keep Marshall if he’s a good coach.  His short term stops are eyebrow raising, but he’s at least a proven commodity and I’m not qualified to determine if he’s the root of the O-line’s problem.  Send Coach M a text message with 1.5 times the salary that the Raiders pay him and see if he bites.  Fire Marshall only if preliminary conversations with clearly superior candidates are positive.


2005-2009 recruiting rankings gathered from Rivals

Current BCS rankings taken from ESPN The Ocho

Head and Assistant Coaches salaries taken from USA Today

Coach resumes taken from 

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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