Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has full faith in football coach Charlie Strong. Now, the UT System Board of Regents is backing both men in unprecedented fashion.
For the first time in school history, every Texas football assistant coach will receive a three-year contract — two years guaranteed, with the third year optional for the school — when the UT regents meet this week and essentially give what’s expected to be their rubber-stamp approval.
Former athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he never gave blanket multiyear contracts to an entire coaching staff. That was partly because he was never given that authority.
For the regents even to be considering it represents a sea change in thinking, two school officials said.
“I just hope my football team can come out and play a game like this right here,” Strong, introducing his staff, told the packed house at the Erwin Center, which saw UT upset Kansas 81-69 Saturday. “I know with the best coaching staff in college football, that will happen.”
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford is scheduled to be the highest-paid assistant with a base salary of $760,000, according to the UT regents’ meeting agenda. Bedford will receive another $47,500 for speaking engagements, summer youth camps and a car allowance, which are typical perks. That pushes Bedford’s total annual package to $807,500.
The offensive coaching salaries are the ones that will raise some eyebrows. Assistant head coach Shawn Watson, who will guide the quarterbacks, will have a base salary of $610,000. Offensive coordinator Joe Wickline’s base salary will be $535,000. Both Watson and Wickline will receive the additional $47,500 in perks.
In mid-January, Strong said Wickline would be the Longhorns’ offensive play-caller. Wickline’s previous contract at Oklahoma State included language that stated he must be named “offensive coordinator (with play-calling duties)” to avoid a buyout penalty.
Texas officials felt they satisfied the terminology. Oklahoma State officials would not comment about the clause in January when asked by the American-Statesman. One OSU source said at the time, “We don’t want to do anything that puts UT on high alert.”
Watson was Strong’s play-caller the last three seasons at Louisville. The assistant head coaching title may give Strong the wiggle room to pay Watson more than Wickline.
The rest of the coaching staff will make between $240,000 and $400,000, depending on age and experience.
Texas assistant coaching salaries
All of Charlie Strong’s assistant coaches will receive three-year contracts, if approved this week as expected by the UT System Board of Regents.
Vance Bedford, defensive coordinator; $760,000
Shawn Watson, assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks; $610,000
Joe Wickline, offensive coordinator/offensive line; $535,000
Chris Rumph, assistant head coach for defense/defensive line; $400,000
Les Koenning, receivers; $335,000
Tommie Robinson, running backs; $335,000*
Pat Moorer, strength and conditioning; $330,000
Brian Jean-Mary, linebackers/recruiting coordinator; $300,000
Bruce Chambers, tight ends; $260,000
Chris Vaughn, defensive backs; $245,000
* Robinson will receive $185,000 the first year and $335,000 the final two years.