Tennessee has officially welcomed in Jim Chaney as their new offensive coordinator. And he’s going to be one of the highest paid assistant coaches in college football when he gets back to Knoxville.
According to UT’s memorandum of understanding that was obtained by 247Sports, Chaney’s contract with Tennessee will run for three years and is worth a total of $4.8 million. His base salary for his first year in 2019 will be $1.5 million, and it will go up by $100,000 increments each year of the contract, meaning Chaney will have a base pay of $1.6 million in 2020 and $1.7 million in 2021.
Last year, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt hired USC quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Tyson Helton to be his offensive coordinator, and Helton made $1.2 million in his one and only season at UT as their OC and quarterbacks coach.
Chaney’s new deal is a massive increase from his salary at Georgia. Chaney received a $100,000 raise back in February of 2018 to push his yearly total to $950,000 with the Bulldogs. He’ll be making $550,000 more in his first year with Tennessee than he was slated to make with Georgia in 2019 under his current contract with them.
The $1.5 million Chaney is owed in 2019 would make him the seventh-highest paid assistant coach in college football based on contract numbers from 2018 according to USA Today’s assistant coaches salary database. Georgia’s Mel Tucker and Ohio State’s Greg Schiano were making $1.5 million last year as assistants, but Tucker is now the head coach at Colorado and Schiano was just let go as Ohio State’s DC.
According to last year’s numbers, Chaney is now the fourth-highest paid assistant coach in the SEC and is the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the country. Michigan’s Pep Hamilton previously held that distinction with a $1.45 million annual salary.
Should Tennessee fire Chaney without due cause before the end of his deal, they would owe him the full remainder of his salary left on his contract. That buyout would be mitigated by Chaney’s salary at a new job, however.
Chaney’s buyout for leaving Tennessee right now is 60 percent of his remaining salary if he were to leave UT before February 1st of 2020. That would be a buyout of nearly $2 million if he left after one season with the Vols. His buyout drops to 50 percent of his remaining salary if he leaves Tennessee after February 1st, 2020.
Tennessee will pay Georgia $500,000 in buyout money for Chaney’s remaining contract at UGA. If Chaney leaves UT before February 1st of 2021, though, he would owe Tennessee/Georgia the remainder of the payments on that buyout.
In terms of bonuses, Chaney’s contract is the same as the rest of UT’s assistant coaches.
If Tennessee reaches a bowl game, Chaney receives a 8.33 percent bonus to his contract based on his base salary that season. He would get a 12 percent bonus if the Vols make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl, and he would receive a 16 percent bonus if UT reaches the College Football Playoff. An appearance in the SEC title game or National Championship Game would give Chaney a two percent bonus, and winning an SEC or national title would earn him a four percent bonus.
All in all, if the Vols win an SEC and national title in 2019, Chaney would receive $545,040 worth of bonuses. That’s highly unlikely to happen next season, but that’s quite the payout if it does happen.