There has been quite a buzz going around college football the past few months over the enormous salaries some of the prominent coordinators have reeled in, especially Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who was given $750,000 a year not to take a head coaching job elsewhere. That salary was in the head-coach ballpark not that many years ago, and it’s huge money for a coordinator.

Smart wasn’t the only one cashing in. In the SEC alone, four of the defensive coordinators will be making $700,000 or more in 2010 — Smart, South Carolina’s Ellis Johnson, LSU’s John Chavis and Georgia’s Todd Grantham.

From a Florida perspective, this begs the question: Is new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin overpaid or underpaid with his annual salary of $440,000? Austin’s salary was revealed Tuesday, along with the new contracts of the other UF assistants.

Based on what those other SEC coordinators are being paid, Austin definitely is not being overpaid. One could make the argument that since he’s never been a coordinator (he was the secondary coach with the Arizona Cardinals), the Gators are throwing too much money at him. But, hey, this is Florida, and if Grantham (a former defensive assistant with the Cowboys) is making $700,000 at Georgia, then Austin should be getting at least $440,000 at Florida. The bottom line is UF has given its new defensive coordinator a contract at or below the going market. So, no, he’s definitely not making too much money.

The same goes for the rest of the coaching staff. Steve Addazio is making $375,000, which is very good but not great money for an offensive coordinator. Addazio will add considerably to his 2010 salary after UF finalizes how much it should pay Addazio for some extra duties he’s taken on in the last five months, including replacing Urban Meyer on the Gator Gathering tour.

The next-highest paid coaches are defensive line coach and assistant head coach Dan McCarney ($330,000 a year) and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater ($305,000). McCarney and Heater received raises of about $50,000 each, along with other returning coaches Scot Loeffler ($240,000) and Brian White ($240,000).

UF’s other new assistants — Zach Azzanni, Stan Drayton and D.J. Durkin — also are making $240,000 a year.

Among the UF contract numbers that came out Tuesday, there was nothing that jumped out at you as being stunning or outlandish, one way or the other.

The most impressive aspect to me is that the lowest-paid coaches are making $240,000 a year. That was coordinator money in the league just a few years ago.

UF is paying its coaches handsomely — and fairly.

It’s a lot of money (not as much as Alabama is shelling out), but this is an elite program with an elite head coach who has shown he knows how to hire elite assistants.

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