A lot of talking going on around Bronco Nation about the cost/value analysis of assistant coaches and if the perception is accurate when we say: Ya get a great assistant at a bargain price, they prove their worth and "poof" they're gone.
First, I am the first in line to say heck yeah! Prove their worth and let them run a show somewhere, make a fortune in a system that is all "what have you done for me lately-as in last Saturday, not last season." That is precisely how we ended up with a great coach who not only proved his worth as the winningest coach in the FBS, but has developed a great many other coaches in the process. Pete proved himself a worthy apprentice to Hawk in every possible way.
Second, and more importantly is this: if they can make more elsewhere, will they bolt? Let's take a look at the numbers. Then and Now...
Wilcox left the Blue and a quarter million a year to go Purple and the move paid off in triplicate; he's slated to make $750k this year. Pease did almost as well going from $180 to $600 (but then again he is in Florida so it may have been a wash-the place is just too stinking humid and flat for me.) Harsin went up 300%. Yates, 200%. Choate, 125%. All great coaches, all have been rewarded for their accomplishments.
The average SEC defensive coordinator makes more than Kwiatkowski. That's right, a cool grand more. (For a working class stiff like me that works out to $0.50 an hour more) Cha Ching. Our O-line coach will clear $324k this year. Tight end coach, $247k. Running backs, $159k. In fact our assistants rank 21st of the 102 FBS in terms of pay and ahead of 34 AQ teams. So we pay for a top 25 program and we land securely in the top 25? What a coincidence!
Now that the numbers nonsense is behind us, I would postulate this: a team is only as good as its assistants and EVERY one knows this.
A good assistant lets the head coach do his job to develop the strategy to win. He can focus on game plans both individual games and the season in general, which is to break down the competition and analyze his strengths and weaknesses against those of the opponents. This is what he does all day every day during the season. Off season he turns his attention to recruiting and finding those players that best fit his strategy.
A bad assistant forces him to change from strategy to tactics. Not just what to do, but how to do it. His attention to next week is gone. He can no longer use what he sees to help formulate his plan and vision. No longer can he compare and contrast his team to his opponents for his attention is forced only on his players. This extends to recruiting as he cannot trust that this vision can be developed from the players being pursued. If the wrong players get brought in and cannot execute that vision, he has to change the entire strategy.
And therein lies the concern. The money is commensurate with the marketplace and the past results have been on par with the cost/value analysis. Are we at the point that we can no longer develop a strategic vision?