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Washington State assistant football coaches receive raises

WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch coaches up his players during spring football practice on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Mike Leach’s contract has been extended by one year, and athletic director Bill Moos says the two will have a discussion about a raise. That part comes later, but Leach has already taken care of his assistant coaches.

Moos increased the budget for assistant football coaches by $160,000 this offseason and left Leach to dole out the raises.

“I have that conversation with Mike Leach and he gives me a request of what he’d like to do, how he’d like to divide it up, and I provided it for him,” Moos said. “Some raises are driven by market and merit, and some operations people and quality control folks, and of course in the strength and conditioning area.”

Special teams coordinator Eric Mele received the largest bump, $30,000, bringing his total salary to $231,500. The return game became a weapon for WSU for the first time in years, with the Cougars ending long droughts with punts and kickoffs returned for touchdowns.

Outside linebackers coach Roy Manning also received a $30,000 raise, giving him an annual salary of $301,500. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch received a $25,000 raise, while the other five assistants who were with the Cougars last season received $15,000 raises.

The Cougars saved significantly with the departure of defensive line coach and associate head coach Joe Salave’a, who was scheduled to make $400,000 per year before his departure for Oregon. His replacement, Jeff Phelps, will make $316,500 to coach WSU’s defensive line.

While those numbers may seem eye-popping, the Cougars are still thrifty spenders compared to many of their Pac-12 counterparts. For example, two assistants on Chris Petersen’s staff at Washington make $700,000 a year or more, and three more are paid at least $500,000 annually.

“I think we did a nice job, but we’re still way in the bottom half in regards to our assistants pool,” Moos said.