Updating the SEC’s 10 highest-paid assistants in 2016


Defense might not always win championships, but coaching that side of the ball pays well, especially in the SEC.

As we look ahead to the 2016 season, six SEC coordinators will earn more than $1 million this fall, while four more will make at least $800,000. And seven of those coaches — you guessed it — are defensive coordinators.

Related: Updated SEC coaches salaries heading into 2016 season

LSU’s two coordinators, Cam Cameron and newcomer Dave Aranda, each rank in the top 5. Texas A&M’s John Chavis (tied for first as the SEC’s highest-paid assistant) and Noel Mazzone both cracked the list as well, and Georgia is also represented twice in the top 10, with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker leading new head coach Kirby Smart’s staff.

Seven coaches ranked in the top 10 will make their debuts with new schools this fall: Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee DC Bob Shoop, Auburn DC Kevin Steele, Aranda, Chaney and Tucker and Mazzone.

Take a look at the complete top 10 and see just how much some of the conference’s top assistants are earning for their work:

T1. John Chavis Texas A&M Def. Coordinator $1.5 mil
T1. Cam Cameron LSU Off. Coordinator $1.5 mil
3. Kevin Steele Auburn Def. Coordinator $1.33 mil
4. Jeremy Pruitt Alabama Def. Coordinator $1.3 mil
5. Dave Aranda LSU Def. Coordinator $1.2 mil
6. Bob Shoop Tennessee Def. Coordinator $1.15 mil
T7. Jim Chaney Georgia Off. Coordinator $850K
T7. Mel Tucker Georgia Def. Coordinator $850K
T9. Robb Smith Arkansas Def. Coordinator $800K
T9. Noel Mazzone Texas A&M Off. Coordinator $800K

NOTE: Salaries based on USA Today’s database. Not all Vanderbilt coaching salaries are made public due to the University’s standing as a private institution; Cameron’s salary is from 2015. He and LSU agreed to a new deal last month, according to theadvocate.com, but the terms of that contract have not been revealed.

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  • I can’t possibly understand how Kevin Steele demands that high of a salary. I’m sorry but he’s just not good

    • you’re absolutely right. He let up 70 pts in a bowl game in his last appearance…. took some time off… and shows up at LSU as the answer? no one was excited, and we were right. Chief had definitely struggled with a young defense at LSU in 2014, but we brought almost everyone back, and Steele still managed to drop out of the top 50 in total defense in 2015. He’s just not comparable. everyone wants to blame the offense, but in the 3 games we lost, we gave up 30+ pts and got shredded. In the 9 we won, less than 30…. hmmm…… so when Auburn offers him a little money, we don’t even make a bid! hahaha and they think they stole something…..

      • It is funny how attitudes change about coaches. Tennessee fans were more than happy to see John Chavis go when he and Fulmer were fired. And look at him now. I still believe he is one of the best DC’s in the Country. Tennessee almost hired Steele a few years ago but he got a lot of points hung on him in a bowl game and they changed directions fast. Fans are fickle. Give Steele a chance before you crucify him.

        • So are you stating that he is actually deserving of his pay, even though he’s not produced a top tier defense?

        • I was a Tennessee fan when Phil and Chief were fired, and I certainly wasn’t “more than happy”. My dad went to UT and I grew up a Vols fan until I went to LSU. Even during Tennessee’s slide, the defense was pretty darn good. It wasn’t lost on us. And Steele has had an ample career to prove himself. As a d-coordinator, he’s been mediocre at best, and terrible at his worst. As I said, he inherited a top 25 defense loaded with young talent. He blew it. I’m not saying he’s a bad person or that I hate him… just saying he isn’t worth 1.33 mil……

        • I’m not going to come right out and say he is worth the money paid yet, I believe he is going to give Auburn something it needs most and that is a defensive coordinator that is going to be there more than one season. This will be coordinator number 5 in 6 seasons. I think it is hard for any coordinator to develop players when the staff changes that rapidly. What I think they got in him is a coach that will stay in the program for several seasons. That may have been a factor in the high salary.

        • I hear ya. Out of curiosity, why are you so sure he’ll stay? … Gus’s seat isn’t much cooler than Les’s seat, and he did leave BR after a year…. hard to argue that it was for personnel or something like that…..

  • Outside of Auburn, he has some roots in the state of Alabama. Unless there is another 3-9 season and completely clearing house I feel like he will be there for a few seasons.