STILLWATER — When Tim Beckman left his position as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator to become the head coach at Toledo, no one raised an eyebrow. The jump from major-conference coordinator to mid-major head coach is a natural career progression.
But when offensive assistants Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor left the Cowboys to take essentially the same positions at Auburn, some questions arose. Some fans wondered why a coach would leave a rising program for one in a rebuilding mode. Perhaps Auburn has a little more prestige than OSU. Same for the Southeastern Conference in comparison to the Big 12. But the difference isn’t major. So why are guys leaving OSU right now, when the team could be on the verge of its best season? There are multiple reasons, one of which is money. That’s not the biggest reason, but it is a factor. Reports have said Luper will make $400,000 coaching the Tigers’ running backs, a $172,000-per-year raise. Taylor was also making $228,000 a year at OSU, so if he’s getting a similar pay bump, it would be hard to ignore. Most would constitute nearly doubling your salary to perform essentially the same duties as a good career move. OSU was at the forefront of boosting assistants’ salaries a few years back, but those figures have been left in the dust behind the money that is suddenly being tossed around in the SEC. However, there’s another very important factor that had Luper and Taylor looking at other jobs, and it’s that natural career progression that Beckman found.