Nice raises for football assistants
Just as football coach Jim Leavitt has a sizeable raise in his new $1-million-a-year contract, his seven returning assistant coaches all will make at least $19,000 more than they did last season.
The largest bump, understandably, will go to linebackers coach Wally Burnham, who will be in his first season as USF's sole defensive coordinator, after co-coordinator Rick Kravitz left for a job at N.C. State. Burnham will make $144,000 this season, up from $98,000 a year ago, with offensive coordinator Rod Smith and recruiting coordinator Carl Franks as the only other assistants making six figures.
All nine assistants will make at least $75,000 each, an impressive figure when you consider that Leavitt made that much a decade ago in his first year as USF's head coach. Just two years ago, only two assistants were making more than $82,000 -- Leavitt negotiated into his new contract that his pool for assistants go up from $690,000 last year to $850,000 in 2006. That figure will increase by $100,000 in each year of his contract.
-- Former Bulls guard Collin Dennis, who announced in May that he was leaving the program, has transferred to North Texas. The Mean Green went 14-14 last season, losing in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Dennis had said he wanted to be closer to home, and the UNT campus is in Denton, about a half-hour north of Dennis' parents in the suburbs of Fort Worth. From his official announcement at Meangreensports.com, I'll share what might be the saddest Internet poll question ever:
What NEW menu item are you most excited about at the North Texas Concession stand this year?
a. Dip n Dots
b. Frito Pie
c. Frozen Root Beer Float
d. Chili Cheese Hot Dog
Surely, what they mean is Dippin' Dots, the Ice Cream of the Future! (Without getting on a tangent on a tangent, you gotta love that cutting-edge Pixar-quality cartoon work on the Dippin' Dots site. Kudos to the fourth-graders who drew the faceless characters who love the "world's most unique frozen treat.")
Man, if that doesn't have you excited about the concession stand at North Texas this fall, you're probably not Mean or Green. Maybe, just maybe, if the Sun Dome had Chili Cheese Hot Dogs, they'd still have Collin Dennis. Perhaps we can get naming rights involved in this -- if USF is playing at the Frito Pie Dome this season, I need a commission on that.