LINCOLN — Nebraska’s assistant football coaches are set to collectively earn nearly $4 million next season, according to recent updates to their contracts, and every assistant will eventually have a deal that runs through the 2018 season.
NU athletic director Shawn Eichorst in the last month extended the contracts of five assistants — Trent Bray, Mike Cavanaugh, Reggie Davis, John Parrella and Keith Williams — until Jan. 31, 2019. Of the quintet, Bray and Parrella got raises.
Bray, who coaches linebackers, will make $400,000 in the upcoming season and $425,000 in 2018. He made $250,000 in 2016 and was set to earn $325,000 in 2017. Bray, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, turned down at least one job opportunity in the offseason in choosing to remain at NU.
Parrella, who coaches defensive linemen, will make $272,500 in 2017 and 2018 after making $250,000 in 2016.
Cavanaugh (offensive line, $450,000), Davis (running backs, $350,000) and Williams (receivers, $400,000) did not get salary raises.
And, as of now, Danny Langsdorf, NU’s playcaller and quarterbacks coach, has a contract that expires Jan. 31, 2018, but a Nebraska spokesman said Langsdorf’s contract will be extended to Jan. 31, 2019 after NU processes some final paperwork. Langsdorf is still on his original three-year deal, signed in 2015 for $500,000. According to USA Today’s assistant coaches salary database, Langsdorf made $527,875 in 2016. He was NU’s second-highest paid coach last season.
He still will be after the hiring of coordinator of Bob Diaco, who’s scheduled to make $825,000 in 2017 and $875,000 in 2018. He too, has a contract until Jan. 31, 2019, as do cornerbacks coach Donte Williams and safeties coach Bob Elliott — all hired during the offseason. Williams will make $400,000 in 2017 and $425,000 in 2018; Elliott will make $325,000 in 2017 and $350,000 in 2018.
Should the NCAA pass legislation to add a 10th assistant coach — a proposal is pending to postpone passage until after the 2017 season — Nebraska intends to promote graduate assistant Tavita Thompson. Executive director of player personnel Billy Devaney said during an appearance on The World-Herald’s “The Bottom Line” radio program Wednesday the tenth assistant spot is “earmarked” for Thompson, who coaches tight ends.
If and when Thompson comes aboard full-time, Nebraska will cross the $4 million threshold for certain. As it stands — assuming no alterations to Langsdorf’s salary — NU assistants will make $3,922,500. But, according to the USA Today salary database, each of NU’s 2016 coordinators — Langsdorf and the previously deposed Bruce Read and Mark Banker — all made more than their base salaries last year. So the collective salary could reach or exceed the $4 million mark.
That’s nearly double what Nebraska assistants collectively made just five years ago, when their combined salary for the 2012 season was $2.13 million. That was Tom Osborne’s last year as athletic director. The salary trend for Husker assistants began to shoot upward in the 2013 season, when the group collectively made $2.64 million, led by then-offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who made $700,000.
Beck was previously the highest-paid assistant in Nebraska history until the hiring of Diaco, a former coordinator at Notre Dame and and a former head coach at Connecticut.