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Coordinators' pay increases by 18 percent
OU's Castiglione wants assistants to stick around

By Jake Trotter Published: February 21, 2008
NORMAN — Oklahoma is trying to make its coordinator jobs among the best in the country.

At least financially.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson both received 18 percent raises for 2008, according to their salary figures obtained by The Oklahoman through the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

Venables — who has coached at OU since 1999 — will make $315,000 in 2008, up from the $265,000 he made in 2007.

Wilson — OU's offensive coordinator for the last two seasons — will earn $260,000 in 2008, an increase from the $220,000 he made in 2007.

Both Venables and Wilson have surfaced as candidates to become head coaches at other schools over the past couple of years.

But OU athletic director Joe Castiglione insists that their raises weren't an attempt to keep them from becoming head coaches.

Instead, he hopes the financial package OU offers deters them from taking coordinator positions at other schools.

"Our competition isn't keeping a coach from taking a head coaching job,” Castiglione said. "It's making this the best possible place to be a coordinator or an assistant coach.

"If you look at anyone who's ever left here, they've gone on to become a head coach or have gone to the NFL.”

Outside of Venables and Wilson, defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator Bobby Jack Wright — who has been at OU since 1999 — will earn the most at $225,000.

After Venables and Wilson, quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel received the staff's biggest percentage raise.

Heupel's 13.3 percent bump increases his yearly salary by $16,000 up to $136,000.

In 2006, Heupel helped converted wideout Paul Thompson lead the Sooners to a Big 12 championship.

In 2007, Heupel mentored freshman Sam Bradford, who finished his first season leading the nation in passing efficiency.

Heupel, who is the youngest OU football coach by six years, however, still remains the lowest paid member of the staff.

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