The Utes knew they were probably going to have to increase their salaries and athletic budget to woo the kind of talent, or keep its coaching talent, to compete at the same level as other programs in the Pac-10 next year.
If Norm Chow is hired, he could be the first to get a heftier paycheck.
Chow was given a two-year contract worth $1 million in July and is one of the highest paid assistants in the country at $640,00 once his total pay package is tabulated, according to USA Today's database.
If he joins Utah's staff, he is going to either take a big pay cut or draw a salary of the kind Utah assistants have never before received, although there is a catch that could drag out his possible hiring and his salary base.
According to the Los Angeles Times, if Chow quits he receives none of his salary. If he is fired, he gets it all, minus the amount another job would pay him.
His future with the Utes could come down to how much he wants to remain in the game and at what salary he is able to get from Utah/UCLA combined.
Currently, Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake is the highest paid assistant earning $170,000 a year in base salary. Co-offensive coordinators Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick earn $160,000 each.
The Utes do have a little money to play with since defensive line coach John Pease retired. He was drawing $150,000 a year.
The Utes have to fill his position, but perhaps they can get creative with the position assignments to free up some money.
In addition, it's unknown how Chow's hiring would affect Roderick or Schramm. If either coach leaves or is demoted, there could be additional dollars made available to Chow.
In addition, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham receives $125,000 to allocate to assistants as he sees fit, according to his contract.
The Utes are also in discussions with former Minnesota offensive line coach Tim Davis to replace Blake Miller, who is expected to join Memphis' staff. There might not be a huge increase there since Miller was making $135,000 a year.
In case you are curious, here are how Utah's coaches rank in their salaries for 2010.
Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake $170,000, 6th year (2nd as DC)
Offensive co-coordinator/tight ends Dave Schramm $160,000, 6th year (2nd as OC)
Offensive co-coordinator/wide receivers Aaron Roderick $160,000, 6th year (1st as OC)
Cornerbacks coach Jay Hill $155,000, 6th year
Defensive line coach John Pease $150,000, 2nd year
Safeties coach Morgan Scalley $140,000, 3rd year
Offensive line coach Blake Miller $135,000, 2nd year
Running backs coach Aaron Alford $115,000, 4th year
Quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson $100,000 - 1st year
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