If we’ve learned anything over the last 15 months at Nebraska under Bill Moos, the checkbook is open.
On Saturday NU announced that new basketball coach Fred Hoiberg would make $25 million over seven seasons, good for third in the Big Ten Conference only behind Michigan’s John Beilein and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.
To take things another step, Moos also announced on Tuesday that Hoiberg’s assistant coach salary pool would be right at $1 million in 2019-20 – good for third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State ($1.02 million) and Michigan State ($1.005 million).
Before this year, the Huskers paid their three basketball assistants $766,000, which ranked eighth in the conference.
“It’s pretty competitive,” Moos said of the staff’s salary. “It’s a million dollars for the three assistants. That’s certainly in the top two or three in the Big Ten.”
That’s more than Illinois ($900,000), Indiana ($890,000), Michigan ($880,000), Maryland ($825,000), Iowa ($700,000), Wisconsin ($660,000) and Purdue ($630,000) pay their three basketball assistants.
Nebraska’s commitment to basketball is clear. NU wants to win, and they are willing to pay top dollar not only for a head coach, but also a staff.
“Through my experience, you have to have the best staff,” Moos said. “We’ve got assistant pools in other sports. By in large they are your boots on the ground recruiting. You can have the best X’s and O’s coaches in the country, but if you don’t have arms and legs, it isn’t going to matter. You have to have top assistants, and that’s certainly what we plan to do.”
The $50-plus million Nebraska makes annually now from the Big Ten also doesn’t hurt either. But in 2017-18, the men’s basketball program generated a revenue of $19.54 million with expenses of $7.98 million to show a profit of $11.56 million. The 2018-19 numbers should be similar, if not higher.
The Huskers ranked 11th nationally in attendance this year at 15,492 per game. Everything is here right now for a commitment like this to happen. You couldn’t have said this before the Big Ten Conference when NU played its games at The Bob Devaney Sports Center, which offered limited premium booster seating and the average attendance in the final season for basketball was just 10,019.
“The myth that we can’t be successful, I’ve never bought in on it,” Moos said. “We paid top dollar, and we did it in football, too. We can afford to do that. My feeling all along was to get the very best we have to go after them. These coaches I have are by in large are Midwesterners, they have a great work ethic, and a little bit of snow doesn’t bother them, and they are hard workers.”