Ohio State Buckeyes: 5 things to know about assistant coach contracts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Ohio State coach Al Washington explains what makes it special to him

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Ohio State football staff is set for another year, and the fine print is in.

Through an public records request, the Dayton Daily News obtained digital copies of the employment contracts for Ohio State’s 10 full-time, on-field football coaches as well three key members of the team off the field.

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Here are five things to know about the deals, some of which were signed this year while others carried over from previous years:

1. The initial amount committed to assistants is lower this year.

Ohio State’s 10 assistant coaches were set to make just under $8 million collectively in 2020, though they ended up collecting less than that as a result of voluntary 5% pay cuts for contract employees brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the athletic department’s budget.

This year they are scheduled to be paid $7.65 million as a result of four coaches getting raises and one veteran coach with a high salary retiring and being replaced by a first-time full-time coach.

The latter is Parker Fleming, who was a member of the support staff last year but added to the on-field staff for 2021 as special teams coordinator. He fills the spot on the staff vacated when defensive coordinator Greg Mattison retired. While Mattison made $1.133 million last year, Fleming has a base salary of $300,000.

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2. Four returning members of the staff will make more this year.

Receivers coach Brian Hartline, secondary coach Matt Barnes and offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson all received raises in the second year of two-year deals they signed in early 2020.

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba celebrates a touchdown with coach Brian Hartline against Nebraska on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba celebrates a touchdown with coach Brian Hartline against Nebraska on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Hartline is set to make $600,000, up $50,000 from last year, while Wilson got a bump of $200,000 up to $1.4 million.

Barnes, who was promoted from special teams coordinator and assistant defensive backs coach to primary secondary coach, got a $150,000 bump to $600,000.

Linebackers coach Al Washington, whose original Ohio State coaching contract was up and reportedly fielded a multimillion dollar offer to be defensive coordinator at Tennessee, signed a new contract worth $600,000, a base salary increase of $85,000 from last year.

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Running backs coach Tony Alford also signed a new two-year contract at the same salary he was to make last year prior to the pandemic cut — $618,000.

3. Two key staffers also signed new contracts.

Director of player personnel Mark Pantoni signed a new one-year contract with a base salary of $225,000 while general manager of football operations Brian Voltolini signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $244,715.

Both were reportedly candidates to join former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s new staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Meyer brought them and director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti to Ohio State from Florida in 2012.

4. All of the coaches have compensation bonuses tied to team success.

Winning nine games and making a bowl game (4.25%), winning the Big Ten Championship game (4.25%), making the College Football Playoff (21.25%) and winning a College Football Playoff game (25.5%) all trigger bonuses for the on-field coaches as well as Pantoni, Voltolini and Marotti, whose base salary is $735,500.

Winning a CFP semifinal game triggers a bonus that cancels out the bonus for playing in the semifinals.

5. All of the full-time assistants could owe Ohio State money if they leave with time still on their deal.

If one of the assistants goes to another Power 5 program, Notre Dame, BYU or the NFL with more than 12 months left on his contract, he would owe Ohio State 30% of his remaining salary.

That money is said to be for offsetting the cost of finding a replacement.

The provision contains an exception — it does not apply if the coach leaves to become a head coach.

Marotti, who signed a four-year deal in 2019, would owe Ohio State $100,000 if he leaves for a similar job in the NFL, at a Power 5 school, Notre Dame or BYU before Dec. 1, 2022.

Marotti was the highest-paid person in his position last year according to the USA Today strength coaches salary database.

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