Arkansas staff pay to exceed $4 million in 2018

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas’ assistant football staff in 2018 will make a combined annual salary of $4.345 million, according to contracts released Friday.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis will be the highest-paid assistant coach at $995,000 in his first year with the Razorbacks, a figure based on his university salary and a separate salary for TV, radio and speaking appearances. Chavis’ contract is through Feb. 28, 2019, but his contract includes a provision that would allow him to extend his employment period by two years with a written request prior to Dec. 1.

Such an extension would bump Chavis’ overall pay to $1.5 million for the 2019 season and $1.6 million for the 2020 season.

Chavis was set to make $1.6 million in the final year of his contract with Texas A&M this year, but he was not retained by new Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M must pay the $605,000 difference in that figure and his first year’s pay at Arkansas, based on reports pertaining to his contract with the Aggies.

The $995,000 annual pay makes Chavis the highest-paid assistant coach in Arkansas history, exceeding $800,000 salaries for former offensive coordinator Dan Enos in 2017 and defensive coordinator Robb Smith in 2016.

Chavis’ defensive staff pay includes $360,000 for defensive line coach Steve Caldwell; $355,000 for secondary coach Ron Cooper; $340,000 for defensive line coach John Scott Jr.; and $225,000 for defensive backs coach Mark Smith.

Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock will make $600,000 in annual salary; offensive line coach Dustin Fry will make $400,000; running backs coach Jeff Traylor will make $370,000; and receivers coach Justin Stepp and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. will make $350,000 apiece.

Lunney and Scott, the two holdovers from the 2017 staff, are receiving the same salary as last season.

In addition to Chavis, signed contracts were released for Smith, Caldwell, Scott and Traylor, who all are under contract through Feb. 28, 2020. Signed contracts have yet to be released for Craddock, Stepp, Fry, Lunney and Cooper, but their salaries were released.

Arkansas’ assistant coaches made a combined $3.945 million in 2017, a figure based on the combined salaries of nine full-time assistants. NCAA programs were permitted to add a 10th assistant earlier this month.

Arkansas' average pay of $434,500 per assistant in 2018 is down slightly from last season when the average pay was $438,333 per assistant.

The Razorbacks’ assistant salary pool has increased four consecutive years and has more than doubled since Arkansas’ nine assistants made a combined $1.945 million in 2010.

Also released Friday was the contract for head strength and conditioning coach Trumain Carroll, who will be paid $290,000 per year and is under contract through Feb. 28, 2021.

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