Minnesota is throwing a bit more money to its current coaching staff than it did in previous years.
According to a story in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, first-year head coach Richard Pitino will have more money invested in his lowest-paid assistant than former head coach Tubby Smith had in his top aide last season.
Dan McHale, who came over last week from Seton Hall, will be the highest-paid assistant coach on staff at $215,000. The lowest-salaried coaches, Ben Johnson and Kamani Young, will make $181,000 each. In 2012-13, Ron Jirsa, Smith’s no. 1, made $161,916.
Vince Taylor (who made $151,126) and Saul Smith ($91,755), also made considerably less than the new regime will make.
The new Director of Basketball Operations, Steve Goodson, will make $75,000, compared to last season’s D.B.O., Josh Adel, who banked $45,000 in salary.
There had been echoes that while Minnesota was on the way up in the B1G in talent, the program was lacking in a few areas. Among those were namely that Williams Arena, while one of the more iconic college basketball forums in terms of ambiance and tradition — it’s been around since 1928, and has undergone three renovations — was old and recruits couldn’t be sold on the fact that they’d play there. They also are one of the few major programs that doesn’t have a practice facility.
The salaries are a good start to show that the Golden Gophers are making an effort to be competitive at the top level of one of the best conferences in college basketball.
If Pitino can convince the meat of the current roster to stay and get some solid recruits, he could be the man to take Minnesota to the upper echelon, at least every once in awhile, of the B1G.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten