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Published: Thursday, 12/4/2008

Competitive offer for new Bowling Green football coach

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Despite having the second lowest overall athletic operating budget in the Mid-American Conference, Bowling Green State University expects to make a competitive offer to its next coach, a university employee said.

Gregg Brandon was fired Saturday morning one day after completing his sixth season.

BG athletic director Greg Christopher said there is no time frame for when he hopes to hire Brandon's replacement.

"Our contract offer will be very competitive and the incentives will be included to allow that salary to be in the top tier of the MAC," said BG sports information director Dave Meyer, serving as a spokesman for Christopher.

Before earning a raise following the 2007 season, Brandon was among the lowest paid coaches in the MAC.

There are many variables when determining the affordability of a coaching candidate, according to Mike Wilcox, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees at BG and the CEO of Wilcox Financial Services in Toledo. Wilcox said Christopher must first determine the market rate in the MAC before deciding what BG is willing to spend. Brandon made a base salary of $200,000 this year and another $50,000 in incentives. A clause in his contract stated that financial terms would be revisited in December, 2009, and at that time his base salary would be adjusted to match the 50th percent quartile of MAC coaches. Wilcox, whose list of clients includes several Division I coaches, said BG's next coach may be of the opinion he should be paid more than Brandon because "Brandon was making $250,000 and you weren't happy with him."

"I have a lot of confidence in Greg Christopher that he'll find what the right numbers are," said Wilcox, a BG alum. "Once you get the right numbers and you understand what the market rate is, then you decide if you're willing to pay market rate, or do you think you'll have to pay more than the market rate, or less."

The track record of a coach also determines his salary, Wilcox said. A coordinator from a major conference will likely demand more money than a position coach from a major conference. Given that, BG did not have to break the bank on its last two coaches. Brandon was the offensive coordinator at BG before being promoted when Urban Meyer left for Utah. Meyer served as a receivers coach at Notre Dame before arriving at BG.

"When we brought in Urban Meyer he wasn't a coordinator so we didn't really have to pay him market rate," Wilcox said. "There wasn't a market rate issue. The issue was what was Urban Meyer's first job going to be. Looking back, I'm glad it was with us."

When Ohio University was looking into hiring former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich before the 2005 season, the school knew Solich would not come cheap. As a result, OU offered Solich a salary above market value in the MAC. In 2007, Solich made a total of $269,062 between base salary and total income. Only Northern Illinois' Joe Novak ($305,136) and Temple's Al Golden ($575,000) made more. Novak has since retired and his replacement, Jerry Kill, makes a base salary of $350,000 per year.

"The numbers may not be astronomically high or astronomically low, but we will be very competitive with the rest of the MAC," Meyer said.

Possibly complicating this search is three other MAC schools also have vacancies. The University of Toledo has a leg up on BG, Miami and Eastern Michigan in terms of time as coach Tom Amstutz announced his resignation in early November, weeks before the other three cut ties with their coaches. Wilcox expects Toledo to pay its new coach more than BG because the cost of living is higher in Toledo.

"I don't think [UT athletic director] Mike O'Brien or Greg Christopher is going into these searches saying, I'm looking for the coach's bargain basement," Wilcox said. "If I'm them, I'm looking for the best coach for the program. I'd prefer to find a proven winner who has won as a head coach or as a top assistant, and it's going to cost me money."

CAMPBELL LEAVES: Falcons offensive line coach Matt Campbell has taken a position at Wyoming.

Campbell was hired at BG prior to the start of the 2007 season. He also served as an offensive graduate assistant with the Falcons from 2003-04.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com



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