Brad Salem got a promotion, and along with it, he’s getting a pretty good bump in his paycheck.
After coaching quarterbacks for the past six seasons, the Michigan State assistant was promoted to offensive coordinator in January by head coach Mark Dantonio, who shuffled his staff in an effort to breathe some life into an offense that ranked as one of the worst in the nation.
According to records provided by Michigan State, Salem’s base salary jumped from $402,462 annually to $517,847. He’s now the second-highest paid member of the staff behind defensive coordinator Mike Tressel.
Tressel, who was also promoted to assistant head coach as part of Dantonio’s changes, saw his base salary go from $572,308 to $667.385.
It all comes in the wake of Dantonio’s decision not to bring any new coaches in but, instead, change responsibilities, primarily on offense.
Salem’s move included taking over the running backs while former co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is coaching quarterbacks, something he did before his promotion in 2013. Co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman was moved to the offensive line and former offensive line coach Mark Staten took over the tight ends. Wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel moved over to defense to assist with the secondary while Don Treadwell took over as wide receivers coach.
The defensive staff remained in the same roles with Ron Burton coaching defensive tackles, Chuck Bullough defensive ends, Tressel also handling linebackers and Paul Haynes continuing to lead the defensive backs.
“Much like every other head coach in America, you think about things and how to fix things and how to change things and go through all the different things that you have to deal with,” Dantonio said when he announced the moves. “I've always been the type of person that, you know, I'm a foxhole guy. I don't apologize for that in any respect. I believe in surrounding myself with loyal people. I believe in digging in when things get tough.
“I really don't want to start the process all over again and bring some completely unknown guy in with a completely unknown staff, and then having them be with unknown players in an unknown commodity and start from scratch. I don't think that warrants this situation.”
MSU athletic director Bill Beekman talks about possible playoff expansion and how he endorsed football coach Mark Dantonio's staff changes. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
Dantonio’s plan was supported by athletic director Bill Beekman, who was at Big Ten headquarters Tuesday for the conference’s annual spring meetings.
He acknowledged that change was necessary while endorsing Dantonio’s decision.
“I don’t think it takes sort of a rocket scientist to say there were some areas of real strength and areas where we need to get better,” Beekman said. “Mark and I met and he developed what I thought was a thoughtful plan to tackle that. There are strengths and weaknesses to every plan, but it made sense to me and I think he’s been working hard in the offseason to try and realize that plan and get the guys, the coaches and student-athletes, in the best position to win.
“Obviously we’ll see when we hit the ground running in September how it works out, but it struck me as a reasonable plan. I’m supportive and I think we’ll do well.”
Salem and Tressel weren’t the only coaches earning pay raises.
Burton now has a base salary of $424,611, up from $387,693, while Haynes will earn $415,385, an increase from $378,463. Bullough saw his salary go from $350,770 to $387,693 and Treadwell jumped from $267,693 to $318,847.
Warner ($516,924), Bollman ($498,462), Staten ($402,462) and Samuel ($387,693) saw their base salaries remain the same.
The moves came after a 2018 season ended with a 7-6 record and the Spartans ranking 13th in the Big Ten in scoring offense and total offense and ranking better than only four teams in the entire country in scoring, averaging just 18.7 points a game while gaining just 342.1 total yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Tressel helped the Spartans finish the season ranked No. 1 in the FBS in rushing defense (77.9 ypg), No. 8 in scoring defense (17.2 ppg) and No. 10 in total defense (303.2 ypg). It was Tressel’s first season as Michigan State’s sole coordinator after serving three seasons as co-coordinator with Harlon Barnett, who left after the 2017 season to be the defensive coordinator at Florida State.
“We have been good on one side of the ball and we need to be better on the other,” Dantonio said.
Dantonio’s current base salary of $2,321,091 is supplemented by several annual bonuses that bring his total closer to $4.4 million, which ranks in the top 20 in the nation. He’s due a contingent bonus of $4.3 million if he remains the head coach through Jan. 15, 2020.
Current base salaries
for MSU assistant coaches
►Jim Bollman, $498,462
►Chuck Bullough, $387,693
►Ron Burton, $424,616
►Paul Haynes, $415,385
►Brad Salem, $517,847
►Terrence Samuel, $387,693
►Mark Staten, $402,462
►Don Treadwell, $318,847
►Mike Tressel, $667,385
►Dave Warner, $516,924