Salary pool expanding as staff comes together

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, left, speaks during an NCAA college football news conference in Fayetteville, Ark., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. At center and right are Bielema's wife Jen and athletic director Jeff Long. Bielema, who will be paid $3.2 million annually for six years, replaces interim coach John L. Smith, who was hired after Bobby Petrino was fired in April. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, left, speaks during an NCAA college football news conference in Fayetteville, Ark., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. At center and right are Bielema's wife Jen and athletic director Jeff Long. Bielema, who will be paid $3.2 million annually for six years, replaces interim coach John L. Smith, who was hired after Bobby Petrino was fired in April. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)

— Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge has signed an offer letter for a $350,000 salary to coach for the Razorbacks next season.

Coach Bret Bielema has not specified whether Partridge will carry additional duties at Arkansas, such as the associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator roles he held at Wisconsin the past two seasons or handling the specialists, as he did in the first three of his five years with the Badgers.

Partridge’s agreement carries his term of employment through the end of June 2014, and he has to pay a $50,000 buyout if he chooses to leave.

Bielema announced two more additions to his staff Monday, making official the hire of Chris Hauser as on campus recruiting coordinator and Mark Taurisani as director of football operations. Both worked with Bielema at Wisconsin, and neither of their salaries has been released by the university.

Taurisani, who has a master’s degree in sports administration from Louisville, spent the past seven years at Wisconsin in football operations, the past three as director of football operations.

Hauser, a 13-year veteran in college athletics, has a master’s in sports science and coaching from Akron. He has worked at Akron, Ohio State, Toledo and Wisconsin, and he spent the 2012 season as on-campus recruiting coordinator at Wisconsin.

Mark Robinson, who has been Arkansas’ director of football operations the past five years, made a salary of $103,800 in 2012. Multiple sources at Arkansas have said he could remain on staff in a different role. Nick Holt, hired this summer as on-campus recruiting coordinator for John L. Smith, was being paid$55,735.

Partridge’s salary is reflective of the larger pot of money for assistant coaches that Bielema has referenced since accepting the Arkansas job Dec. 4.

The coaches who have signed on with Bielema to this point - offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Chris Ash, offensive line coach Sam Pittman and Partridge - will make a combined $1.725 million next season.

The four highest-paid assistants on Coach John L. Smith’s 2012 staff - offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, assistant head coach Taver Johnson and offensive line coach Chris Klenakis - made a little more than $1.49 million combined. That figure rose to more than $1.93 million when special incentive pay, granted by Athletic Director Jeff Long after Coach Bobby Petrino’s highly publicized motorcycle wreck and subsequent firing, was included.

Bielema had to replace six assistants before the 2012 season with his Badgers coming off consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, and he cited salary concerns as the biggest contributing factor to their departures.

Speaking Monday on ESPN’s College Football Live, Bielema discussed why he made the move to Arkansas, first citing the SEC’s positioning to put teams in the four-team playoff beginning in 2014.

“The other [reason] was just to get an opportunity to bring along a number of assistants,” Bielema said on the show. “I’d lost quite a few in the last couple of years, with basically some guys that moved for cash reasons, to be able to provide for their families. So I got a huge jump in my assistant coaches’ salary pool, which was big.”

Partridge is being paid $241,750 at Wisconsin this season, meaning he’ll be receiving a 44.7 percent bump in pay to work at Arkansas.

Ash, who has reportedly expressed an interest in interviewing for the head coaching position at Wisconsin, is on track to receive a raise from $267,050 to $550,000 if he comes to Arkansas following the Rose Bowl.

In other coaching staff news, Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp is reportedly in position to take the same position at North Carolina State for new Coach Dave Doeren, who has ties to Wisconsin and Bielema. Coachingsearch.com reported Monday that Veltkamp would be Doeren’s choice for strength and conditioning coach.

Wisconsin tight ends coach Eddie Faulkner, who was a Bielema hire for the 2012 season in Madison, is also heading for Doeren’s Wolfpack staff, according to the school. Faulkner will coach tight ends, fullbacks and special teams in Raleigh, N.C.

Sports, Pages 17 on 12/18/2012

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