GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida is spending big in an effort to get its defense back among the nation’s elite.
The Gators gave new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham a three-year deal worth $4.47 million, making him the highest-paid assistant in school history. Grantham will earn $1.39 million this season, $1.49 million in 2019 and $1.59 million in 2020, according to contracts the school released Tuesday in response to public records requests.
Coach Dan Mullen’s on-field staff will earn a total of $4.74 million this season, with Grantham getting the largest cut.
Only 15 college football assistants made more than $1 million in 2017, with nine of those in the Southeastern Conference.
Former Florida defensive coordinator Randy Shannon made $976,500 last year. Mullen fired Shannon in late November, parting ways with him after the Gators finished 31st in the nation in total defense. It was the school’s lowest defensive ranking in a decade.
The Gators finished 15th or better in total defense nationally – and in the top 10 eight times – in the nine seasons between 2007 and 2017.
The 51-year-old Grantham spent one year with Mullen at Mississippi State and turned the Bulldogs into one of the league’s top defenses. They ranked third in the conference in yards allowed and fifth in points last season, both considerable improvements from 2016.
Grantham has 31 years of coaching experience, including 11 as a defensive coordinator. He served in that role at Mississippi State (2017), Louisville (2014-16), Georgia (2010-13) and with the Cleveland Browns (2005-07).
The rest of Mullen’s staff:
– Co-offensive coordinators Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy signed two-year contracts that will pay them $565,000 each this season and $590,000 in 2019.
– Defensive line coach Sal Sunseri got a two-year deal worth $565,000 annually.
– Running backs coach/special teams coordinator Greg Knox signed a two-year deal worth $440,000 annually.
– Quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson got a two-year contract that will pay him $415,000 this season and $440,000 in 2019.
– Safeties coach Ron English, a former head coach at Eastern Michigan, signed a two-year deal worth $340,000 annually.
– Tight ends coach Larry Scott got a two-year contract that will pay him $190,000 this season and $415,000 in 2019. Scott is getting paid by Tennessee in 2018.
– Cornerbacks coach Charlton Warren signed a two-year deal that will pay him $190,000 this season and $390,000 in 2019. The Volunteers also are paying Warren in 2018.
– Linebackers coach Christian Robinson got a two-year contract worth $80,000 annually.
Each assistant also gets $10,000 annually as part of the school’s equipment and apparel contract with Nike, $1,500 a year as an academic incentive and the use of a courtesy car from a local dealership. Grantham and Gonzales could opt for a $500 monthly stipend instead of a dealer car.
The coaches have buyout clauses in their contracts, but Grantham’s states he can take a head coaching job at the Football Bowl Subdivision level or any NFL position without owing Florida anything.
In addition to the 10 on-field assistants, Florida signed strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage to a one-year, $250,000 deal.
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