Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
With the move up to the American Athletic Conference (AAC), and the termination of Will Healy, I felt now is a good time to dive into AAC budgets and coaching salaries. Charlotte knew heading into the AAC that there would need to be an influx of resources into Football to compete, so it’s no surprise there’s much work to be done on this front.
The Football Budgets below come from Sportico’s database (access it here), and the coaches salary come from various resources on the internet.
To set the table, Charlotte’s football budget (data from 2020-21) was $11,317,565 and Will Healy’s salary was $755,000 annual before any incentives (contract details). Obviously this is a time of change for the AAC as their top 3 programs are leaving for the Big 12, and backfilling with 6 Conference USA (CUSA) teams. The data is broken out below based on those 2 groups of teams, plus teams that will be staying in the AAC.
Not all data is known due to some institutions being private, but I’ve provided what I’ve been able to find.
The average AAC budget for footbal was over $5,000,000 higher than CUSA’s, at 15,109,331. Once you remove the 3 outgoing teams, the average AAC budget drops to $12,472,664. This does not factor in budges for SMU, Temple, Tulsa and Tulane. Undoubtedly SMU’s budget could push that number up, and with Navy’s figure being lowest available, I would think the other 3 teams would push this range up as well.
Realistically Charlotte needs to almost triple that of Will Healy’s salary to be in line with their AAC peers. Only Willie Taggart has a lower known salary. The lowest known AAC salary belongs to Phillip Montgomery at Tusla, coming in at $1,700,000+ annually.
Let that sink in. Healy is $1,000,000 lower than the LOWEST AAC salary. Yes, CUSA salaries are lower, but that’s doesn’t mean drastically… Jeff Traylor at UTSA is at $2,800,000 a year, while Bill Clark was over $1,650,000 annnually at UAB.
These figures do not take into account salary and support staff pools. I will point out Charlotte has ramped up support level type of roles since Mike Hill’s administration took over, but they must find a way to compete with the head coach AND assistant coach salaries. Underdog Dynasty has a great article from Feb 2021 that highlights coaching salaries and assistant pools (where available). Perusing this shows me that Charlotte must find at way to get their assistant pool to at least $3,000,000 annually to be competitive with their new peers.
There’s much work to be done on Charlotte’s side to generate the necessary resources, but that’s part of the gig and was clearly known as a key item when making the jump. Couple this in with the Evergreen campaign, Charlotte must find a way to leverage the corporate resources that are available in their backyard. The best way to do that is to win, and that starts with the hire that is now infront of Mike Hill.
Teams making the move from CUSA to AAC
$2,800,000+ through 2031
$1,800,000+ through 2023
$750,000+ through 2024
Bill Clark (Open)
$1,650,000+ through 2024
Unreported salary through 2023
$2,300,000+ through 2026
$1,850,000+ through 2026
$2,500,000+ through 2026
$2,300,000+ through unknown
$1,900,000+ through 2026
$2,500,000+ through unknown
$1,700,000+ through 2024
$3,000,000+ through unknown
$2,300,000+ through 2025
$4,100,000+ through 2027
$5,000,000+ through 2028