SMU's coach-in-waiting makes sense

April, 27, 2012
4/27/12
11:00
AM ET
Being an assistant college hoops coach rarely comes with a big-time paycheck. There are exceptions, of course: Maryland assistant Dalonte Hill became the highest-paid assistant in the country while at Kansas State, and Maryland itself has beefed up its assistant coach salaries in recent seasons. But Hill's current salary doesn't come anywhere close to what newly confirmed Southern Methodist assistant coach Tim Jankovich will be making under Larry Brown in the coming seasons. From Andy Katz:
Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich has accepted a coach-in-waiting position under SMU coach Larry Brown, the school announced Thursday. The deal is expected to be in the range of $700,000 per year, a source with direct knowledge told ESPN.com on Thursday.

There is no time limit on when Jankovich would take over for the 71-year-old Brown.

Yes, you read that correctly: Jankovich will be making $700,000 a year to be an assistant coach and understudy to Larry Brown. According to Andy, Jankovich had given himself a deadline of Thursday afternoon to decide whether or not to take the job. He took it, and really, can you blame him?

It has to be one of the strangest deals in modern college coaching history, but it's a fantastic one for Jankovich. He gets to lead a quality team of assistant coaches under a baggage-ridden but nonetheless legendary coach. And if -- OK, when -- Brown gets bored with the gig, Jankovich is guaranteed to take over. And he gets to make all that money! That's a huge salary for an assistant. How could Jankovich say no?

You also have to admire SMU's no-scales-on-eyes approach to the Brown hiring. They need an impact guy right now, as the program ramps up its facilities and makes its big move to the Big East. Brown is definitely that. But the Mustangs brass isn't harboring any illusions about what Brown does after a year or two at nearly every job he takes: He leaves. For one reason or another, he leaves. Jankovich and that assistant coaching staff provide an insurance policy against impending Brown boredom. They seem to have all the bases covered.

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