Robert Gillespie just got a pay raise, and it’s made him the highest-paid non-coordinator on Tennessee’s coaching staff.
According to a report from 247Sports, Gillespie has received a $35,000 raise and will make $510,000 this season. His increased salary pushed him ahead of linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen who currently makes $500,000 annually.
Gillespie and Thigpen are the only two assistant coaches on Tennessee’s staff who were part of Butch Jones’ original staff during the 2013 season. Gillespie wasn’t event technically part of the first staff Jones assembled, as running backs coach Jay Graham was retained following the firing of Derek Dooley. But Graham left the Vols in February of 2013, and Gillespie was hired shortly thereafter.
This is the third time Gillespie has received a raise while at Tennessee. His fist raise came after the 2014 season when his pay was bumped by $50,000 when he was given the title of recruiting coordinator. Gillespie’s second salary increase happened after the 2015 season when he was given a $125,000 boost to his deal.
Only defensive coordinator Bob Shoop ($1.15 million annually) and newly promoted offensive coordinator Larry Scott ($650,000) have larger contracts on Tennessee’s staff under Butch Jones.
Gillespie has been one of the key factors in Tennessee’s highly-touted recruiting classes the past few seasons. Gillespie was the main recruiter for players such as Ty Chandler, Jonathan Kongbo, Alvin Kamara, John Kelly, Jalen Hurd, and current 2018 quarterback commit Michael Penix among others.
Not only has Gillespie been instrumental in the Vols’ recruiting the last few years, but he’s been a solid developer of talent for Tennessee’s running backs, especially for rising junior John Kelly heading into this season. If Kelly has a breakout year this season, Gillespie may be in line for yet another raise.