For those who missed it, Utah State University just signed head coach Gary Anderson to his second contract extension in as many years. The move will keep the head coach at the school through 2018, and could pay him up to $765,000 annually. For a full press release on Anderson’s extension, click here.
Just as telling is the extension calls for salary increases for all of Anderson’s assistant coaches.
“This contract will also help us retain quality assistant coaches, which is a very important step as we move forward and into the Mountain West Conference,” Anderson said in the school’s release.
Just some recent history: Utah State hired Anderson the same year New Mexico State hired DeWayne Walker. Both programs were in the same position when the hires were made — flat on their backs. Utah State is really in no different scenario than NMSU — the two have long been conference rivals, and are geographically isolated.
But Utah State made a financial commitment to its football program. Again, look no further than Anderson’s extensions and further compensation for his assistants. Last year, Utah State paid its top-three assitant coaches $157,500 (Dave Baldwin), $151,500 Bill Busch) and $100,000 (Matt Wells). The Aggies top-three assistants made $90,000 (Doug Martin), $70,000 (Dale Lindsey) and $60,970 (R. Todd Littlejohn). The UtAgs have 19 assistant coaches currently listed on its school website. The New Mexico State Aggies have 15.
Meanwhile, the Aggies have had four offensive coordinators in four years and had to hire four new assistant coaches this offseason — new offensive coordinator, new defensive coordinator and new assistants to coach the offensive and defensive lines.
Some of last year’s coaches left because of better job opportunities (offensive coordinator Martin to Boston College, offensive line coach Jason Lenzemeier to UNM) and some were shown the door (defensive coordinator Lindsey who now works at University of San Diego, defensive line coach Jesse Williams who’s now at Ohio). All are missed in some form or fashion, particularly the two coordinators who were very experienced.
Really want to know what’s killing Aggie football this year? Look no further than this type of turnover on the coaching staff.
No matter what happens with Aggie football in the coming years — no matter the president of the school, the athletics director leading the charge or the head coach of the team — NMSU needs to decide if they’re willing to appropriately fund its football program on the Division I level. If not, then drop it down. If you nickel and dime the product, you’ll get nickel and dime results. It's that simple.
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