$3M Owed Assistants Cost Vols Shot At Cutcliffe

David Cutcliffe has decided to spurn a possible opportunity to become the next Tennessee football coach. Though it isn’t clear if Cutcliffe was actually offered the job, he released a statement this morning affirming his decision to remain at Duke.

Tennessee Football Assistant Coaches

(The reason David Cutcliffe isn’t the Vols Coach this morning)

A college coaching source close to the situation told me this morning that Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton told Cutcliffe that if he want to take over as coach, he would have to retain most of the coaches on Lane Kiffin’s former staff.

Now you’re wondering, why on earth would Hamilton do that?!

Answer: Money still owed those assistants.

Per Season:
Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney: $390,000 (two years left)
Linebackers Coach Lance Thompson: $375,000 (two years left)
Wide receivers Coach Kippy Brown: $300,000 (new three-year deal)
Quarterbacks Coach David Reaves: $160,000
Offensive Line Coach James Cregg: $160,000
Defensive backs Coach Willie Mack Garza: $120,000

Total owed assistants: $2.870

Hamilton in a UT press release about the coaching staff salaries last January:

“While our coaches’ salary model is unique, we feel it is a great model for Tennessee. Coach Kiffin understands the power of putting together a great team, and he used the budget we provided to assemble what many will consider to be the best staff in America.”

From sources, the only other name I’ve heard for the Tennessee job as a legitimate candidate is the coach of Louisiana Tech, Derek Dooley. Dooley is the son of former Georgia Coach and Athletic Director Vince Dooley.

That certainly doesn’t mean Dooley is the frontrunner for the job. More likely Hamilton was caught a little flat-footed by Cutcliffe’s disinterest.

Media are also reporting Jon Gruden, Lovie Smith, Kyle Whittingham, Kippy Brown and Kevin Sumlin as possibilities. Gruden actually considered the USC job, from what I was told, but turned it down when told he would not have complete controlling in hiring his own staff. That’s when Kiffin entered the picture.