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Salary Study: Comparing the Cal coaches' coin purses in 2013 vs. 2014

Taking a look at how our coaches' salaries changed in 2014 compared to 2013.

Cal Bears Online

Part one of a four-part series. Maybe.
Due to the recent departures of Coaches Likens and Yenser, this post was expedited. It was then de-expedited due to issues with the data. The rest of the series will be posted at a later date. Maybe.

Update: It looks like the changes are purely because the each coach who came on board in 2013 received a signing bonus... A signing bonus that perfectly matched each pay decrease. In 2013, the non-coordinator assistant coaches each received a signing bonus of $5,000; that is the exact same drop in pay for practically all of those coaches (Likens, Yenser, and Chachere). The only coaches from 2013 who go against this are Tommerdahl and Ingram; Tommerdahl's pay dropped by $5,555 and Ingram made $15,000 more due to his increased duties. This also means Likens didn't see a raise for his additional job titles. When Dykes joined the University of California, he received "a one-time lump sum of $594,000" because he had to pay that amount to leave Louisiana Tech. In his second year, his pay dropped by $588,600, which is even less than that lump sum. This actually makes me wonder if the new defensive position coaches (Tate and Burns) are making $5k less than the other assistants or if Cal's official data didn't include their signing bonuses. Thanks to fiatlux and JustBear for helping figure this all out.

So, that means this story went from super scandalous with that USA Today to mildly interesting with Cal's official numbers to painfully boring. Sorry, guys.

Original: Thanks to USA Today (2013 data available here; 2014 data available here), we can track our employees' salaries from 2013 and 2014. But maybe we shouldn't thank them just yet...

The table below (Fig. 1) is split by offense/defense, then further organized from largest to least pay. Mark Tommerdahl is classified under the offense as he coaches some positions on the offense in addition to his work on special teams. This organizational divide was used because all of the coaching changes happened on the defensive side of the ball, which seems to play a hand in salary changes. For those positions that underwent changes, I've drawn a comparison based on the position. In one of these cases, the comparison is a bit muddled; our defensive line was managed in 2013 by two coaches—defensive tackles coach Barry Sacks and defensive ends Coach Garret Chachere—who each earned the same amount. In 2014, the entire defensive line was under the control of defensive line coach Fred Tate. Speaking of Chachere, he stands out with his own entry in this table because he changed positions from 2013's defensive ends coach to 2014's linebackers coach. There is no 2013 counterpart as the linebackers were part of defensive coordinator Andy Buh's responsibilities.

When we compare the USA Today values (Fig. 1), it looks like the sky is falling!

2014 salaries- Cal comparison 01

Figure 1. A comparison of the 2013 and 2014 salaries as provided by USA Today. Things certainly seem catastrophic for Cal...

With this data, I prepared a terribly long narrative about how Cal had to reduce salaries by nearly $1Mlikely to keep buying out Tedford and Buhand the sacrifices the retained 2013 staffers had to make in order to have enough funds to offer competitive salaries to the new defensive coaches. It was a great and eloquent post! Several CGB editors read the draft and wept openly at its beauty.


And then Likens and Yenser left us. So I added more on how money may have been a contributing factor to these coaches' departures. But then Avi went ahead and decided to have enough editorial integrity to contact our buddies in the athletic department and double-check the validity of these numbers. They confirmed the 2013 salaries, but disputed the 2014 figures, instead offering to us the following:

2014 salaries- Cal comparison 02

Figure 2. Comparing the salaries as provided by the Cal athletic department.

Well. That's entirely less catastrophic. We now see a decrease in total salaries of over 11% (or just under $550,000). While times are undoubtedly tough financially for Cal due to the stadium renovation and various buyouts, things seem less dire if Cal only cut wages by half as much as previously believed. I presume this may be because the monetary pressures from the stadium renovations and Tedford's buyout were already known and felt in 2013; the major financial change in 2014 was paying off Buh's buyout. For our former defensive coordinator, his three-year contract guaranteed that if he's fired without cause, then he is guaranteed his full base salary and talent fee for the full length of his contract. That may decrease in the future based on his new Arkansas gig, but that did not affect the 2014 season and salaries. So, we owed $1.25M to Buh over 2 years, which comes down to an annual payment that's pretty darn close to how much salaries were cut.

Instead of the mad slashes and "everything must go" attitude, we see a lot of moderate losses across the board (less than 3%). The only major paycut belonged to Sonny Dykes. Total salaries were cut by $544,155; Dykes's paycut of $588,600 exceeds that amount. Is it possible the big man in charge took total financial responsibility for Buh's firing so his assistants wouldn't have to bear it? Are you telling me that instead of your typical story of Cal doom and gloom, we get a story about a big sacrifice that our head coach is making? More evidence that he might have the right character that we want in our system? All around good news (as good as they could be given 2013) for all except Negabears? What world is this? Is down now up? Is Twilight no longer the greatest love story known to our people?

Athletic Director Sandy Barbor, defensive tackles coach Barry Sacks, and defensive ends coach Garret Chachere in 2013. Credit: Cal Bears Online

Beyond that, there aren't many interesting changes in the Cal-provided figures. Tony Franklin's decrease in pay is negligible and the defensive coordinator position sees a pretty big raise, likely due to Art Kaufman's years of experience. The only other raise on the staff is for running backs coach Pierre Ingram, likely due to his added responsibilities as recruiting and run game coordinator.

Speaking of promotions, I'm going to detail here the changes that I noticed. Firstly, Tommerdahl has evolved from special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach to special teams coordinator and tight ends and fullbacks coach. This seriously begs the question of how he's coaching tight ends when all we've got are inside receivers; is he just not neglecting to coach those inside receivers and is that why he got that 2.7% pay cut‽ Rob Likens added the title of passing game coordinator to his already-impressive job title of assistant head coach and outside receivers coach; despite this, becoming an offensive coordinator is clearly a step up for Likens and one that probably won't be possible in Dykes's team for quite some time.

Ingram's promotion in particular may have been an additional factor in Yenser's decision. Yenser has become the run game coordinator for the Jayhawks, a position no longer available for the Bears. Is it possible that Ingram and Yenser could have split run game coordinator responsibilities? Would Ingram have been willing to relinquish that title as he already had "recruiting coordinator" as a feather in his cap? Was it just too hard for these besties to separate? The world may never know.

If there were no problem with the USA Today numbers, I would have compared the Cal salaries to the other schools in the conference and maybe even in the nation. However... if USA Today has flaws in their Cal figures, I can't rule out the possibility there are errors in the other schools. I'm still considering running that analysis (with both the USA Today and Cal-provided salaries) with a disclaimer that the posts would solely be analyses of the data I have available and the data may be wrong. If you're interested or opposed to such posts, please let me know. I'll definitely base my decision on the interest of our readers.