Three Michigan football assistants eclipse $1M mark

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Defensive coordinator Don Brown has a five-year deal that will pay $1 million the first four years and $1.4 million in his fifth season

It appears that Michigan has hit another first for its college football program.

According to data from USA Today, Michigan is the first program to have three assistants making $1 million or more.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown, offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and assistant head coach / pass-game coordinator Pep Hamilton will each make at least $1 million this season.

Their contracts were obtained Tuesday by The Detroit News through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh was the highest-paid coach in 2016, according to USA Today’s annual survey. Harbaugh's total compensation was $9 million last season. He will make $7 million in 2017.

Brown, 61, whose Michigan defense last fall finished No. 1 nationally, has a five-year deal that will pay $1 million the first four years and $1.4 million in his fifth season. He has retention bonuses of $300,000 in each of the first two seasons and $400,000 in years three and four. Brown has a $250,000 buyout if he leaves. He signed his contract Dec. 20, 2016.

Drevno also has a five-year deal and will make $1 million each season and will receive a $150,000 signing bonus this season. He does not have a buyout, but he if leaves for an assistant coaching position he will owe Michigan $150,000. He owes nothing if he takes a head coaching job. Drevno signed his contract Jan. 2.

The staff’s newest member, Hamilton, who joined Jim Harbaugh’s staff earlier this month from the Cleveland Browns, will make $1 million annually his first three season and $1.25 million in the fourth year of the contract. He will receive a $450,000 retention bonus in Year 2 and a $250,000 bonus in Year 3. He will receive a $150,000 signing bonus. He will owe Michigan $150,000 if he leaves Michigan before Dec. 2. Hamilton signed his deal Jan. 9.

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Last season, based on USA Today's database of college assistants' salaries in 2016, 12 assistant coaches made $1 million or more.

Two schools, LSU and Alabama, each paid two assistants $1 million or more last season. Dave Aranda made $1,315,000 and Cam Cameron's contract was for $1,211,000. Lane Kiffin's contract at Alabama last year was worth $1.4 million and Jeremy Pruitt's paid him $1 million.

By contrast, Michigan State, which has co-coordinators on offense and defense, paid the four approximately $1.18 million.

Drevno’s original contract at Michigan was three years, $800,000 annually with $50,000 in deferred income.  He has long been part of Harbaugh’s staffs. He worked for him at San Diego from 2004-06, then went with him to Stanford and then the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons before joining USC’s staff as offensive coordinator for one year.

Under Drevno’s guidance at Michigan as offensive coordinator, the Wolverines were ranked 58th last season in total offense, averaging 424.9 yards a game, and 11th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 40.3 points per game.

Brown, who in his first season at Michigan last fall directed the Wolverines to No. 1 in total defense (261.8 yards), made $850,000 last season, the first year of a three-year contract that would have increased by $50,000 each year. Michigan was No. 1 in pass defense (142.5), second in scoring defense (14.1) and 15th against the run (119.2) this past season.

Twitter: @chengelis