Joe Tiller: Overpaying coaches is as wrong as underpaying

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 10, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 10, 2013

The trend in college football has been increasing the salaries of assistant coaches, and no conference has done that more than the SEC.

But one former Big Ten coach thinks a cautious approach should be taken.

Speaking to the Purdue Exponent, Joe Tiller said schools have to make sure they don't overpay, either.

"One would be relatively certain to assume that Purdue assistant coaches have been underpaid," Tiller told the paper. "That's all in the past, but I do think we have to be sensitive to overpaying based on experience, qualifications and long-term performance. In my opinion, to overpay - if that's the suggestion - is as wrong as underpaying."

New Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell will make at least $2 million this coming season, more than doubling previous head coach Danny Hope's salary of $950,000 last season.

"I'm not one to judge whether a coach is overpaid or not, I'm just saying, we should be sensitive to the qualifications and performance," Tiller said. "With Coach Hazell, perhaps both have been met, time will tell."

Tiller told the paper he couldn't pay his assistants like Hazell will, and that caused him to lose some to other jobs, as well as hamper bringing in better assistants to replace them. The hope is the commitment to paying coaches now will move the program forward.

"You try to hire the best guy you can," Tiller said. "That's based on two things. No. 1: Doing the homework on the guy ... but the other side of the coin is what kind of a pay-package you have to offer.

"Some guys you wanted to hire, Purdue wasn't going to pay them as much money as they were making at their current jobs. So you end up sliding down that ladder a little bit and keep your fingers crossed."








Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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