January 24, 2012 in Sports

Breske highest paid WSU assistant

Defensive coordinator to receive $325,000
By The Spokesman-Review
 

PULLMAN – Mike Leach’s defensive coordinator will be the highest-paid member of Washington State’s first assistant coaching staff under the new head football coach – and under the Pac-12 Conference’s new, lucrative television contract.

According to a list of base salary figures obtained by The Spokesman-Review, Mike Breske, a longtime defensive coordinator at the Football Championship Subdivision level, will earn $325,000 this season to lead Leach’s defense at Washington State.

Leach’s nine assistants will earn a total of $1.8 million this season, an increase of $575,000 from last year’s assistants budget of $1.225 million.

Base salaries for the rest of Leach’s assistants are: special teams coordinator Eric Russell, $225,000; linebackers coach Jeff Choate, $210,000, offensive line coach Clay McGuire, $200,000; running backs coach Jim Mastro, $200,000; defensive line coach Joe Salave’a, $175,000; outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons, $160,000; outside linebackers coach Paul Volero, $155,000; inside receivers coach Eric Morris, $150,000.

The salaries of chief of staff Dave Emerick ($150,000) and director of football operations Antonio Huffman ($80,000) are not included in WSU’s assistants budget.

All assistants are working under one-year contracts.

Leach, who accepted the Cougars’ head coaching job on Dec. 1, will be paid a guaranteed yearly salary of $2.25 million plus incentives. That brings the total payout for Leach and his nine assistants to $4.025 million for the 2012 season, which is more than double the $1.825 million paid to coach Paul Wulff and his assistants in 2011. Wulff, who was fired after the Cougars finished 4-8 last season, earned a base salary of $600,000, though his buyout was to be roughly $800,000.

WSU must also pay the contracts of Wulff’s assistant coaches – none of whom were retained – through the end of March.

The budget for Leach and his assistants is a product of the Pac-12’s television deal, which is expected to earn the conference $3 billion over 12 seasons, with revenue divided among the conference’s 12 schools. The deal, which begins in the fall, is expected to eventually generate up to $20 million per season for each school.

Athletic director Bill Moos said after Leach was hired that WSU would not have been able to afford the coach’s salary without the new TV contract.

And while WSU is able to spend more money on coaching salaries than it ever has before, its assistants budget is still relatively inexpensive in light of recent Pac-12 coaching hires.

Washington, for instance, announced Saturday that its assistant coaching staff will be paid $2.73 million in 2012, more than any public Pac-12 school paid its staff in 2011, according to the Seattle Times (Stanford and USC are private schools and are not required to release employee salary information). And UW’s new defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, will also be the highest-paid assistant on that staff, earning a guaranteed $750,000 in 2012.

WSU has not yet announced the hire of a strength coach – whose salary would not be included in the $1.8 million figure – though FootballScoop.com reported last week that Boston College’s Jason Loscalzo has accepted the position.

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