money speaks And the recent news surrounding offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Kirby Smart’s upcoming contract extensions say things are going very well for Georgia’s football program.
Monken’s new deal will earn him $2 million annually, a $750,000 increase from his previous salary of $1.25 million. He is believed to be the highest paid assistant coach in the sport. The three assistants, who made over $2 million last year, were all hired as head coaches this past offseason. Ohio State defense coordinator Jim Knowles is reported to be making $1.9 million, while LSU defense coordinator Matt House is bringing in $1.8 million.
Related: Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken gets a monster raise to $2 million
That Monken is so well compensated shouldn’t come as a surprise. Though his tenure was marred by quarterback instability in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the offensive coordinator found a way to get the most out of his offense. After JT Daniels was injured last season, Stetson Bennett led an offense that averaged 38.6 points per game.
Georgia ranked ninth in the country on offense a season ago and probably could have climbed higher had it not been so comfortable up front in many of its games. It’s one of the most unique offenses in the sport, as the team’s leading receiver last season was freshman tight end Brock Bowers. It’s an attack that’s truly tailored to the talent, not the offensive coordinator’s core principles or plays.
Smart made a bold move when he pulled Monken out of the NFL ranks after the 2019 season. Things hadn’t gone well for Georgia on the offensive side of the ball in 2019, but it had only been James Coley’s first season as an offensive coordinator. One could understand giving him a second year to show improvements. Monken was coming off a miserable season with the Cleveland Browns, having spent the previous three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hiring Monken is a big reason Georgia won the national championship last season, the school’s first since 1980. And that’s also why Smart will get a long and big contract extension.
Consider that Dan Mullen earned more than Smart ahead of the start of the 2021 season. Mullen is no longer Florida’s head coach, while the Bulldogs confirmed Smart’s hiring. Georgia was winning 10 games a year when replaced by Mark Richt after the 2015 season. Smart was brought to Georgia to win championships and now he got his first.
Georgia is now very committed to proving it will do anything to get its next one.
“It’s just going through the process and taking its time,” said UGA athletic director Josh Brooks. “This is an important contract for him and for us. It’s just all the little details. It’s just typical stuff. Nothing special.”
Related: Georgia president hints at massive pay raise from Kirby Smart, deal pending
A number of coaches have received longer contract extensions in the past year. Mel Tucker, Jimbo Fisher, James Franklin and Brian Kelly have all signed 10-year contracts this offseason, and eight coaches are expected to make more than $9 million next season.
Investing in Georgia’s football program hasn’t been an issue since Smart’s arrival, which isn’t true of the Richt era. Since Smart arrived on campus, over $200 million has been spent on various facility upgrades. It’s only natural that the money would flow to the Georgia coaching staff.
Monken’s new deal surpasses what the school paid defensive coordinator Dan Lanning last season, when he was paid $1.7 million for leading the stellar Georgia defense. The new contract makes Monken the highest-paid assistant in the history of the Georgian football program.
We’re still awaiting the final details when it comes to Smart, but you can bet he’ll be well compensated for all his efforts to make Georgia a championship program.
What all that money says about the Georgia football program now and in the future shows a strong belief in Smart’s vision for the program. The product on the pitch—both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball—reflects this.
The financial investments in Smart and Monken are not a reward for past success. It would be bad business to only pay people for what they previously did.
The money being thrown around shows a strong belief in what Smart and Monken can continue to do for Georgia in the years to come. That the best years are yet to come for Smart and Monken in Georgia