LSU to pay its football coaching staff $13.5 million in 2020

LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and former passing game coordinator Joe Brady share a laugh before the Tigers' national championship game win over Clemson. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MAILHES

Win a national championship and everybody cashes in.

The LSU Board of Supervisors approved at its monthly meeting new contracts for the Tigers’ football coaching staff worth a cumulative $13,577,500 for the 2020 season.

During the Board’s Zoom teleconference on Thursday morning, six of LSU’s seven returning coaches from the 2019 national championship team received raises, led by head coach Ed Orgeron’s $2 million salary bump to $6 million annually.

Eight of the 10 assistants have two-year contracts. New defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and longtime Tigers’ secondary coach/newly-named recruiting coordinator Corey Raymond, have three-year deals.

Every assistant, including new hires Pelini, passing game coordinator Scott Linehan and running backs coach Kevin Faulk, also will receive $7,000 annually to coach in LSU’s summer high school camps.

All assistants, except for Pelini and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, have clauses stating they can earn as much as $75,000 in postseason and other bonuses. For Ensminger, the max is $325,000 and for Pelini it’s $200,000.

The total Tigers’ assistant coaching salaries of $7,577,500 ranks fifth nationally and second in the SEC behind Alabama, according to LSU athletic director Scott Woodward.

He also told the board that Orgeron’s new five-year deal through the 2025 season makes him the third highest paid coach in the SEC (behind Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher) and the fifth highest in the nation.

“It’s a very good contract for the university and for Coach Orgeron,” Woodward said. “It’s well-deserved and a well-negotiated contract. I hope it’s a representation of not what has come but what is to come with more success.”

The contract also includes bonuses for postseason play, coaching awards and team academic performance that could earn Orgeron as much as additional $1.475 million annually.

Woodward seemed particularly pleased by Ensminger’s raise. The Baton Rouge native and former LSU quarterback received a $200,000 increase to $1 million.

“We want to reward Coach Ensminger for being a good coach and an LSU man for so long,” said Woodward, who noted Ensminger’s new salary ties him for fifth in the SEC among offensive coordinator salaries. “We are pleased with the job he’s done and how’s he represented LSU.”

Ensminger’s contract also contained a unique bonus clause. If his offense finishes the season ranked in the top three in the SEC in scoring offense, red zone offense, third down conversions, fewest turnovers and total offense, he’ll receive $25,000 for each category (a max of $125,000).

Pelini’s $2.3 million salary, slightly less that previous Tigers’ D-coordinator Dave Aranda who left to become Baylor’s head coach, is the second highest college football assistant salary nationally behind Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

“Coach Orgeron asked me to get the best we could get as always,” Woodward said, “and he went out and got Coach Pelini. I think it’s working out tremendously. There’s no better defensive coordinator in college football. He’s proven it not only in his body of work, but more importantly here at LSU (before) when he shared in a national championship.”

Pelini was D-coordinator for the Tigers for three seasons, culminating in the 2007 national championship. He left to become Nebraska’s head coach for four seasons before being fired after the 2014 season. He was Youngstown State’s head coach for the last five seasons, being paid less than $400,000 last season.

Here’s a glimpse at the new contracts. All amounts are per year.

Head coach Ed Orgeron: 5 years, $6 million. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $1.475 million.

Offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger: 2 years, $1 million. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $325,000.

Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini: 3 years, $2.3 million. Post-season and other bonuses: Maximum of $200,000.

Passing game coordinator Scott Linehan: 2 years, $807,000. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Offensive line coach James Gregg: 2 years, $657,000 in 2020, $707,000 in 2021. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond: 3 years, $582,000 in 2020, $607,000 in 2021, $632,000 in 2022. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Defensive line coach Bill Johnson: 2 years, $578,500 in 2020, $557,000 in 2021 and 2022. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Safeties coach Bill Busch: 2 years, $457,000. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Special teams coach Greg McMahon: 2 years, $432,000. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph: 2 years, $407,000. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

Running backs coach Kevin Faulk: 2 years, $357,000. Post season and other bonuses: Maximum of $75,000.

TOTAL SALARIES: $13,577,500 ASSISTANTS ONLY: $7,577,500

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Ron Higgins

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