Bret Bielema took a not so subtle shot at his former employer, Wisconsin. The Arkansas coach tweeted how happy he was to be at a program willing to invest to keep assistants from leaving (Alabama coming in for offensive line coach Sam Pittman?). It had a bit of a “look how how my new girlfriend is” vibe to it.
Bielema claimed assistant salaries were a major reason he left Wisconsin. The Badgers did have an exodus after 2011, with six assistants leaving, but it is not clear how that could have been prevented.
Paul Chryst left to take the Pitt head coaching job. He took three assistants with him, who were all offered promotions. Bob Bostad went from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator (before leaving for the NFL). Dave Huxtable went from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. Joe Rudolph went from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach (and now offensive coordinator).
DeMontie Cross (now with TCU) left his safeties/special teams spot to be linebacker coach at Kansas. The only lateral move was Southern California native DelVaughn Alexander leaving to becoming wide receivers coach at Arizona State.
Comparing across the Big Ten, though, it is not hard to see why Bielema felt deprived. Wisconsin ranked 5th in total coaching staff payments, but ranked just ninth in assistant payments of 10 schools where USA Today had full data. Only notoriously stingy Purdue spent less than Wisconsin on its assistants. Wisconsin spent less than 60 percent what Ohio State did on assistants in 2012.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]