The New Mexico State Aggie football team announced Sunday evening that it will not bring back defensive coordinator David Elson. Also gone is defensive line coach Romeo Bandison.
To anyone paying attention, this shouldn't have been a huge surprise. The Aggies couldn't defend the run all season (ranking last in FBS football by giving up 299 yards rushing per game). In turn, they really couldn't stop anyone either (giving up 549 yards per game of total offense). Many of these results were a concern going into the season, and certainly playing a challenging independent schedule didn't help matters.
The question is, where do the Aggies go from here? For one, they have to replace the majority of their defense, as 12 of the 22 players on the team's depth chart were listed as seniors. And they're going to have to bring in a very good coordinator. A complete overhaul appears to be in effect.
But one thing we can also say: it seems imperative that the Aggies pay better money to fill the position. When Elson was hired, it was reported he would make $100,000 annually. For a Division I coordinator, that is not a lot.
And yes, paying good money does matter and helps a team's chances, simply because it allows a program a better chance of bringing in a quality coach with experience.
Simply look at the offensive side of the ball this past year: the team hired Gregg Brandon as offensive coordinator, and reportedly signed him to a two-year contract that pays $180,000 a year. This is a lot of money for NMSU, although Brandon also trotted out a respectable offensive scheme (far improved from years past) and the Aggies clearly got better as the season moved along.
One would think the Aggies, if possible, should look to pay similar money when looking to hire their next defensive coordinator. If for no other reason that both sides of the ball are equally as important to a team's success.