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Salary pool for UCLA assistant football coaches reaches a new high

Coach Jim Mora successfully lobbies to increase pay to retain staff. UCLA will pay assistants a total of $2.442 million in base salaries and talent fees this season.

August 01, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • After leading UCLA to a 9-5 record last season, Jim Mora received a one-year contract extension worth $2.5 million.
After leading UCLA to a 9-5 record last season, Jim Mora received a one-year… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

USC reached out to UCLA offensive line coach Adrian Klemm last winter, hoping he'd make the jump across town. UCLA Coach Jim Mora knew he needed more financial firepower to retain his staff.

So UCLA did what it believed it needed to do.

Klemm, a skilled recruiter, and others on staff, received raises following their 9-5 season and pushed the pool of money for assistant football coaches to an unprecedented level for the university.

UCLA will pay assistants $2.442 million in base salaries and talent fees this season. This comes two years after staff pay cuts that took the money pool from $1.8 million in 2008 to $1.645 million in 2011. Bruins' coaches made $2.08 million in 2012.

The $2.442 million does not include signing and retention bonuses.

Mora also benefited, receiving a one-year contract extension worth $2.5 million. He signed a five-year $10.235-million contract when hired in December 2011.

He also received assurances that UCLA would build a football house, according to people inside the department who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Mora had leverage after other college programs and the San Diego Chargers showed interest in him last winter. The Bruins' nine victories were the program's most since 2005 and included a 38-28 victory over USC.

Increasing assistant coach pay has "certainly been an issue" the last decade, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said. The high cost of living in Southern California, combined with salaries below those at other programs, were among the reasons for the coaching exodus. The Bruins had 39 assistant coaches from 2003 to '11, an average of four new coaches a season. Mora lost one coach this year, Marques Tuiasosopo, who left to coach at Washington.

"From the outset, we have made a concerted effort to build the pool of money," Guerrero said. "Coach Mora felt it was important to the overall success of the program."

Money from the Pac-12 television deals — projected to bring in $3 billion to the conference over a 12-year period — has improved UCLA's finances. UCLA received about $14.5-million net in television money last year and expects to receive about the same this year, Guerrero said.

Football attendance and the department's fundraising also grew. The Bruins had a 21% increase in football attendance in 2012. The Wooden Fund received an increase of $5 million in donations, to $11.5 million, Guerrero said.

Those in the upper administration have received pay boosts in recent years. Associate Athletic Director Mark Harlan went from $88,195 in 2010-11 to $186,618 in 2011-12. Associate Athletic Director John Jentz went from $83,115 in 2010-11 to $150,452 in 2011-12. Both made a little more than $200,000 in 2012-13.

Assistant football coaches, however, are being paid more than some administrators.

Klemm received a two-year contract that will pay $340,000 this season and $350,000 in 2014. He will also receive a $40,000 retention bonus, to be paid Jan. 1, 2015.

Defensive back coach Demetrice Martin received a two-year contract that will pay $227,000 this season and $250,000 in 2015.

Linebacker-special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich was to make $215,000 this season but received a new two-year contract worth $275,000 a season. The contract included a $90,000 signing bonus and retention bonuses of $25,000 (January 2014), $70,000 (January 2015) and $70,000 (July 2015).

Receiver coach Eric Yarber went from $125,000 to $250,000. Defensive line coach Angus McClure will receive $175,000 this season, a $10,000 bump.

In addition, Sal Alosi, the football program's strength and conditioning coach, had his pay bumped $40,000 to $215,000 a year and received a one-year contract extension that runs through the 2015 season.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @CFosterLATimes

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