Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tigers have highest paid staff in nation

The expectations are high for Auburn football this fall. The Tigers are considered one of the favorites to win the Southeastern Conference championship, along with LSU and Florida.
Auburn could even enter the 2006 season with a top five national ranking.
Some would say such expectations are only fair, when you consider Auburn's financial investment in Tommy Tuberville's staff.
According to university athletic budget reports for the 2004-05 season required by the NCAA, and obtained by the Indianapolis Star, Auburn has the highest paid football coaching staff in the nation with a total budget of $4,938,831.
The Tigers barely topped perennial leader University of Texas, which paid Mack Brown and his staff $4,887,932.
Rounding out the top five nationally were Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU.
The University of Alabama ranked 21st on the list, with Mike Shula and his staff earning a combined $2,850,319.
Of the top 25 highest paid football coaching staffs among public schools - private schools such as Southern California and Notre Dame are not required to make their reports public - the Southeastern Conference had six. After No. 1 Auburn came Tennessee (3), LSU (5), Georgia (9), Florida (11), and Alabama (21).
UAB was ranked 63rd, with a total staff salary of $1,373,188, which ranked fifth out of seven C-USA teams reporting.
When it comes to bringing money in, Alabama was fourth nationally in football in expense-to-revenue difference at plus $28,803,845, trailing Texas (over $39 million), Georgia and Michigan.
Auburn ranked ninth nationally last year, showing a football profit of $24,184,850. The Blazers' football program even came in with a profit of $532,905, ranking 53rd out of 164 reporting schools.
In overall athletic department budgets, Georgia led the nation in expense-to-revenue ratio, coming in at $23 million ahead. Alabama ranked ninth at $5.2 million, and Auburn showed up 72nd on the list, ahead of overall expenses by $121,815.
UAB showed an overall loss of $88,630, ranking 123rd out of 164.
The biggest loser was Arkansas-Little Rock, at minus $8,698,807.
The numbers are a fascinating insight into the big business of college sports and what it takes to be competitive.
Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs says Auburn fans ``expect the best, so we hire the best, and we pay the best."
Of course, the cost of paying the best keeps going up.
To that end, Jacobs recently signed a new apparel contract with Under Armour, and last week announced a new media rights agreement which will pay the athletic department $5.7 million annually, a jump from the current $2.4 million
Auburn also announced a significant increase in student tuition fees earmarked for the athletics department, from $36 a year to as much as $192, although Jacobs said for in-state students the fee would be closer to $100.
That increase is expected to pump another $3 million into the Auburn athletic department. According to NCAA figures, Auburn reported receiving $982,349 in student fees in 2004-05, which ranked sixth in the SEC, well behind Mississippi State's SEC-leading $3,089,375 and Alabama's $2,550,605. James Madison led the way with $17,818,323 in student fees.
The equation is really pretty simple. Auburn fans are simply hoping they get what they've paid for.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers defense wasn't exactly porous last year, ranking second nationally in touchdown passes allowed (eight) and sixth in scoring defense (15.5 points a game).
That defensive stoutness helped the Tigers win their final two regular season games against nationally-ranked Georgia and Alabama. But then came the Capitol One Bowl game with Wisconsin, and defense went out the window. Although Auburn kept the score respectable in a 24-10 loss, the Tigers gave up more yards than a par 5 at Augusta National -- 548, including 301 passing yards from Badger QB John Stocco and 213 from RB Brian Calhoun."We just didn't have an answer," said Auburn coach Tommy Tubberville.
A few weeks later, he did -- Will Muschamp. Auburn hired Muschamp away from the Miami Dolphins to replace David Gibbs and become the team's third defensive coordinator in as many years (Gene Chizik went to Texas after the 2004 season). And already this spring, the new coach is making an impact."It's like he had a gallon of coffee before practice," marveled middle linebacker Karibi Dede. "It seems like everything is a point of emphasis."And everything is subject to change. Tristan Davis, who averaged an eye-popping 19 yards a carry as a backup running back last fall, is now a safety. Safety Will Herring, the team's leading tackler (69) in 2005 and top pass interceptor the year before, is now an outside linebacker."He's a smart guy," said Muschamp of Herring. "He'll pick it up quick."Just like he moved from quarterback -- his position at Opelika (AL) High School -- to the defensive backfield as an Auburn freshman.Davis admits to some withdrawal symptoms from offense, as well, but realizes he was stuck behind Kenny Irons (the SEC's top rusher in 2005) and several other returning backs with more experience, not to mention highly regarded freshman Ben Tate. Other key Auburn defenders will be NG Josh Thompson, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (already a standout in spring drills) and CB David Irons, brother of Kenny, who was given a sixth year of eligibility.Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at LSU in 2003, when the Tigers won the national championship. At Miami, he was responsible for linebackers. He's known as a hands-on coach who spends as much time out on the practice field making emphatic "suggestions" as stalking the sidelines."I’ll coach here the same way I did at Miami and at LSU before that," Muschamp said."He's everywhere" Keribi Dede told the Birmingham News.The Auburn Tigers started hitting on their third day, and practices have been open to the public. And, obviously, very open to Will Muschamp.

Auburn Tigers

“The age doesn’t matter,” said Tate, a true freshman running back who should be preparing for Senior Skip Day and high school graduation, not college spring football and classes.
Tate, the state of Maryland’s all-time leading high school rusher with 5,920 yards, is only concerned with learning Auburn’s offense and working his way into playing time by preseason camp. He’s with the Tigers because he graduated from Snow Hill High in Newark, Md., after the fall semester, which allowed him to enroll at Auburn in January.
“I think I just got to work hard, but I can definitely play on this level,” Tate said minutes after he led Auburn’s scrimmage Saturday with 61 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Already one coach appears smitten by the talent Tate brings to the backfield.
Running backs coach Eddie Gran has seen his fair share of top runners in his time at Auburn. They include Carnell Williams, last season’s NFL offensive rookie of the year; Ronnie Brown and Rudi Johnson.
Gran’s thoughts on Tate, easily the youngest running back he’s currently working with, might surprise you.
“I think (he’s) a lot like Carnell was,” Gran said. “Ben’s got a little maturity to him. That’s what’s going to help him in the long run. That’s what’s helping him now in the short run.”
During the scrimmage, it was easy to tell who the fans wanted to see. Every time Tate touched the football, the cheers got louder. Once the play ended, those in the stands at Jordan-Hare Stadium turned to the person sitting beside them and commented about the freshman.
What’s surprising, though, is that incumbent starter Kenny Irons, who led the Southeastern Conference in rushing a season ago, isn’t bothered by his sudden demotion to second favorite in the fans’ eyes.
“Me and Ben are real good friends,” said Irons, who finished with 1,293 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2005. “He’s a great guy. He’s a real cool guy. Every time he came on a recruiting visit, I showed him around. There’s no animosity between us.”
That maturity Gran spoke of, well, he’s not the only one to notice it.
“I am impressed, and the coaches are, too,” Irons said.
“They like to see him run. He picks up on things fast. He’s going to be a great asset to the team.”
It wasn’t hard for Tate to see the benefits to enrolling a semester early at Auburn.
“I just think it puts me ahead as far as everything, football and academics,” Tate said.
“You never know what can happen down the road. I may be able to graduate my junior year, and if I’m good enough to go to the NFL draft, there’s more options out there.”

Auburn Tigers

2006 Auburn Football Schedule

Sept. 2--Washington State at Auburn (ESPN)
Sept. 9--Auburn at Mississippi State
Sept. 16--LSU at Auburn
Sept. 23--Buffalo at Auburn
Sept. 28--Auburn at South Carolina (Thursday, ESPN)
Oct. 7--Arkansas at Auburn
Oct. 14--Florida at Auburn
Oct. 21--Tulane at Auburn
Oct. 28--Auburn at Ole Miss
Nov. 4--Arkansas State at Auburn
Nov. 11--Georgia at Auburn
Nov. 18--Auburn at Alabama
Dec. 2--SEC Championship Game, Atlanta