The economy is still in the dumps in a lot of places, but not if you want to become a Pac-12 head coach.
For those keeping score at home, here's where the conference coaching salaries stand now, with Arizona State and UCLA still looking for new coaches.
Chip Kelly, Oregon, $2,800,000
Jeff Tedford, California, $2,300,000
Steve Sarkisian, Washington, $2,250,000
Mike Leach, Washington State, $2,250,000
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona, $1,910,000
Kyle Whittingham, Utah, $1,700,000
Mike Riley, Oregon State, $1,313,471
Jon Embree, Colorado, $725,000
The two new guys are bolded. USC's Lane Kiffin is believed to be the Pac-12's highest paid coach. His salary has been reported as high as $4 million a year, which he has denied. Stanford coach David Shaw's salary also is not published.
See if you notice something about the guys on the way out.
Dennis Erickson, Arizona State, $1,503,000
Mike Stoops, Arizona, $1,465,000
Rick Neuheisel, UCLA, $1,285,000
Paul Wulff, Washington State, $600,050
The new guys are making more. A lot more. Don't be surprised if both UCLA and Arizona State end up paying more for their new coaches than Washington State and Arizona did for Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez.
Sun Devils and, most pointedly, UCLA fans should feel disappointed otherwise.
The new guys aren't getting Nick Saban money ($4,833,333). Or even Bobby Petrino money ($3,638,000). But they are pushing the needle up, and that also is going to drag along long neglected salaries for assistant coaches. With Washington State budgeting $1.8 million for assistant coaches and Arizona likely to be slightly north of that, it's fairly clear that things are a-changing.
Wonder if some current coaches and assistants wonder if they are going to get some deal sweeteners?
What does that 12-year, $3 billion Pac-12 TV contract bring? Bigger name coaches and bigger name coordinators and assistant coaches.
Does that guarantee better football? No.
But I'm in the camp that says it should increase the odds the Pac-12 will play better football in 2015 than it did in 2010.