These college football assistant coaches are due for a big payday

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As another college football season winds down over the next few weeks, hundreds of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches will be thinking about their next career moves. And many will be in line for a pay raise.

As part of its annual review of assistant coach compensation, USA TODAY Sports identified seven assistants across the FBS who are likely to see a bump in pay at the conclusion of the season, either because of a strong performance at their current school or because they figure to be highly sought-after on the job market − either as coordinators or as head coaches.

Here’s a look at each coach, what they’re making in total compensation this year and why that figure will likely increase in 2024.

Alex Atkins, Florida State

Position: Offensive coordinator/offensive line

Total pay: $1.15 million

The only holdover from last year’s iteration of this list, Atkins got a raise of $300,000 last winter and seems destined for a similar hike ahead of 2024. It’s not just that Florida State is undefeated and has the inside track on a spot in the College Football Playoff, but also that Atkins’ offensive line has been consistent despite overcoming injuries along the way. The Seminoles have allowed just 15 sacks in 10 games, and they didn’t allow even a tackle for a loss against Boston College in Week 3 − just the second time in school history in which that’s occurred.

Tim Banks, Tennessee

Position: Defensive coordinator

Total pay: $1.5 million

Banks is the 18th highest-paid assistant coach in the FBS this season, but he might still see a raise given where his compensation ranks among defensive coordinators in the Southeastern Conference (seventh). Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, whose focus is on offense, likely feels fortunate that he can rely on Banks to lead the Volunteers’ defense − a unit that, with the exception of last week’s loss to Missouri, has been fairly steady. No defense has scored more touchdowns than Tennessee’s four, and the line has been particularly impressive, ranking among the nation’s best in sacks (tied for seventh in the FBS) and tackles for loss (tied for fourth).

Brian Hartline, Ohio State

Position: Offensive coordinator/wide receivers

Total pay: $1.6 million

Hartline got a massive raise before this season, when head coach Ryan Day promoted him to offensive coordinator. And he could get another bump this winter if he garners interest for FBS head coaching jobs. This season, the former NFL wideout has guided a Buckeyes offense that has been consistently productive, even if it hasn’t been quite as explosive as in recent years. And he deserves credit for the performance of the team’s wide receivers, too; Ohio State has had three wideouts drafted in the first round over the past two years, and Marvin Harrison Jr. will almost certainly join them this spring.

D’Anton Lynn, UCLA

Position: Defensive coordinator

Total pay: $1.02 million

In his first year at UCLA, Lynn has helped build the Bruins into a top-10 defensive unit − which is no small feat given all of the offensive firepower in the Pac-12. The Bruins are holding opponents to just 16.4 points per game, which ranks ninth in the FBS, and just 70.8 yards per game on the ground. Lynn, the son of longtime NFL coach Anthony Lynn, is just 34 years old and has a strong coaching pedigree, including several stints in the NFL. It seems like only a matter of time until he is getting head coaching looks.

Brennan Marion, UNLV

Position: Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

Total pay: $310,000

UNLV has surged to the top of the Mountain West in Barry Odom’s first season as head coach, and Marion’s innovative Go-Go offense is a key reason why. The Rebels have put up 40 points or more in six games this season, all of them wins, and boast both a top-20 rushing attack and one of the best third-down conversion rates in the country. Yet Marion, a former assistant at Pittsburgh and Texas, is not even among the 10 highest-paid assistants in his conference. That will almost certainly change this winter − unless he’s hired away by another school, most likely as a coordinator at the Power Five level.

Will Stein, Oregon

Position: Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

Total pay: $835,000

The Ducks’ first-year offensive coordinator appears severely underpaid in the wake of his unit’s success this season, and Bo Nix’s emergence as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Oregon leads the FBS in scoring offense at 46.3 points per game and is averaging more than six offensive touchdowns every time it steps on the field. Stein put up big numbers at his previous stop, Texas-San Antonio, a year ago and seems poised to be a hot name on the coaching market over the coming months.

Jay Valai, Oklahoma

Position: Co-defensive coordinator/pass defense/cornerbacks and nickelbacks

Total pay: $700,000

Oklahoma is tied for the FBS lead with 17 interceptions, including two last weekend against West Virginia and two that have been returned for touchdowns. It’s a credit to the Sooners’ entire defensive staff but also the impact of Valai, who has been highly sought-after in recent years and looks poised to take another step. The 36-year-old spent one year in the NFL, as a quality control coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, and has since coached defensive backs at some of the nation’s premier football programs, including stints at Alabama and Texas before arriving at Oklahoma in 2022.

Contact Tom Schad at or on social media @Tom_Schad.

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