Potential Assistant Coaches


Why do we care if MSU pays assistants more than we do? Izzo makes double what Beilein makes. MSU’s assistants have been there forever. Will higher assistants’ pay improve our program? Some people were criticizing the caliber of assistants rumored to be considered for the jobs. Now Murphy is suddenly a guy who should be paid double what we’ve been paying?


I think we also have to remember what kind of guy JB is. Does he seem like the type that will just raise assistant salaries 50% just because that’s what other people are paying? I don’t see him as the type of guy that will get in an arms race when it comes to facilities, gadgets, gizmos and other expenses. Our assistants make over 200k. I can see us moving closer to 250k in one offseason, but we’re not going to throw down an extra 75K+ in an offseason for assistants unless JB sees that it’s worth it. And for better or for worse, I don’t see him as the kind of guy that will do that.

Donlon and Meyer didn’t leave because of money. If Saddi Washington tells JB he will make a lateral or downward move because he’ll get paid more, than I can see JB making the decision to really up the assistant salaries. But if Murphy was making 250k at Creighton, we would probably have to offer him very close to 300k to pry him away and then we’d have to increase Saddi’s salary and pay another 300k for Meyer’s replacement. And we’d probably have to give the other staff raises as well. Just doesn’t seem likely that JB would increase the main assistant salary pool from 615k to 750k in one offseason.

And while I think we have the money to spend willy nilly because we have a massive athletic department and football makes so much money, I don’t think it’s necessary. JB has yet to make a bad assistant coaching hire while he’s been at Michigan, so I am not worried about him finding two quality assistants this summer. Chances are, we’ll get two good ones a the price JB wants.


FWIW, BQ reports in MLive:

One source, however, citing Murphy’s agent, told MLive that Murphy has accepted a increase in compensation to remain at Creighton.

Good professional move by Murphy, but we don’t know whether Creighton’s increase was to match Michigan’s offer or exceed it. Even if Murphy’s new salary winds up being less than Michigan’s offer, getting a raise while not having to move the family isn’t a bad thing, exactly. Again, good for him.

I compare the situation with one that I face at my job. I’m given a budget to meet an objective. I’m asked if I can get the job done with that budget.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not a real question–the answer is always Yes.

I’m sure Warde and Beilein meet to talk the overall management of the program, including the budget. Whether Warde sets the level of funding for assistants or whether Warde and Beilein agree that $205K is the portion of the overall operations budget that will go to each assistant, the amount is set.

The big question in this case is not “Can you hire Preston Murphy with this budget?”, it’s “Can you win with this budget?” I’m sure that the answer to this question, too, is always Yes.

Some fans might be embarrassed at news that looks like Michigan is operating on the cheap. As has been mentioned, though, Beilein’s done a great job of bringing in assistants since turning over his first staff at Michigan. I have full confidence that he’ll find some great coaches again at Michigan’s price point as he has done in the past.


Tom, I think we’re talking in hypotheticals that neither you nor I are privy to. With that said, I would bet that 1) no serious search for donors was made to cover any shortfall and 2) the donors are out there who would fund what isn’t really a very high dollar amount when you get down to it, particularly after last years BTT title run and the accompanying attention/story. I’d bet you on both 1 & 2 on any day of the week and six times on Sunday.

More likely is that it would represent something JB doesn’t want to do - but work with me here - it’s a little off that they had this guy in to run a practice and that they let his name get floated and didn’t realize in advance that they were so far apart on salary.

I’m hopeful that JB can continue his streak of almost always hiring wins at the assistant positions, but it remains disappointing that we’re not getting a guy we would have signed if salary was a match and a guy who the kids liked and wanted to see on staff. And I’m sorry, but it’s not a great look. Maybe they should have had better communication before going that far down the road so we don’t have the egg on our face of getting outbid by freaking Creighton.


Nice straw man. Who in heck was criticizing Murphy? I’ve heard nothing but good things about him and heard that he ran a great practice and was very much a take and for good reasons. It’s not just fan embarrassment - it’s also not a great look recruiting wise, and as Gene Smith will tell you, lifeblood of a program and all that. As I suggested above, it’s quizzical that they could discover such an impasse that far down the road of trying to make a hire. As with others, I hope JB will find other good assistant options. I am a little underwhelmed by some of the other names I’ve heard, so I’m hoping he has a rabbit or two in his hat.

Oh, you also strawmanned with the suggestion we were going to pay him double. I see no evidence that it would have taken $410k to get him to Michigan, which is, you know, double.


Another name to track:

George Washington assistant coach, ties to Albany City Rocks as well (s/o @slyboogie2)


I can see why he’d want to leave. Last season was a disaster after Mike Lonergan’s Bobby Knight-ish scandal.


Usually under such situation, the first thing before any serious talk is expectation of compensation. If there is a gap, no need to waste anyone’s time. JB/Warde should’ve known what might be able to make Murphy move. and most likely if they offered, it was a number that matches Murphy’s initial expectation. Either Murphy got a counter offer from Creighton, that matches or exceed Michigan’s offer, possibly include other perks/promises, and Michigan is unable/unwilling to counter. Or Creighton made a move to keep Murphy, even before Michigan made an offer.


Yeah, it sounded like we weren’t there to begin with, but it may be that the counter offer came in very strong and my understanding of the timeline is off.


Don’t disagree with anything there. I imagine he is getting a raise from Creighton, which was an amount that JB or Manual were not comfortable with matching, or they didn’t think the number matched his ability. He made 200k at BC. I imagine he made at least 25k more than that at Creighton. I think we can make a solid guess at what the minimum Michigan offered him.

I don’t think there’s any reason to be upset or panicked about how this happened. Murphy sounds like a very good assistant coach. But there are any number of reasons why he won’t be an assistant here. I’m holding off on getting upset until I know the reason.


There may be another issue at play here. Murphy was the number 1 assistant at Rhode Island and, in the wake of a Creighton assistant leaving for Purdue, might well have been offered that at Creighton. My guess is that Saddi will be the number 1 guy at Michigan–indeed, if Beilein brought in Murphy, who is younger and new, to be the number 1 guy, that might cause some real issues from a staff chemistry point of view. In addition, if Saddi is the number 1 guy, he’s got to make at least as much, if not more, than Murphy. Lots of potential moving parts.


All fair, but he wouldn’t have been brought in to interview and run a practice if JB hadn’t been fine with having him and Saddi on staff, right?


I just feel like we are so close to being in a good spot with this recruiting class and with a path forward. He was an appealing way to get some of the way there. I hope we can find someone just as good.


i am pretty sure that Warde/beilein was fully aware of what is the acceptable offer by Murphy and would top that by 5-10%. that would be close to 300k based on my guess. Creigton might step in and counter-offer him something that is clearly beyond ongoing market price and Warde/Beilein backed off.


Just curious, who is reporting that he was brought in to interview and run a practice?


I’m on more than one board and there are those who saw the list and thought we could do better. A few days ago, we had no idea who Preston Murphy was. As to how things played out, I haven’t seen anything that lays it out. I haven’t seen anything about an interview or running practice. Maybe you have a link. The double salary offer was posted by someone on Rivals who claimed to know someone with info. I’m not worried at all about replacing the assistants. Wish they had stayed, but Beilein knows what he’s doing.


I have that from someone with connections to the program. I hope I didn’t put my foot in my mouth sharing it. I certainly don’t have two source confirmation, but the guy has never really been wrong about anything he says.


I find it highly unlikely that Beilein brought in a coach for an interview and, before hiring him, had him run a practice. That’s about as un-Beilein a thing as I can think of.

FWIW, I have seen nothing to indicate that Murphy even came to campus. I have seen a report that Thomas visited (but NOT that he ran a practice).


No link - heard from someone who hasn’t told me anything incorrect in the past. With Murphy, I didn’t know him from Yinka Dare two weeks ago, but it’s just that everything I hear since, I liked. I don’t think I’m being racial saying that a 39 year old black coach who can apparently coach and can recruit, seems to fit and makes a favorable impression on the kids, etc. etc. it just sounded like it might be a great fit.

Don’t know if that guy is right about the double salary thing - 400k sounds really high compared to what I’d heard, but you would know better than I would if the guy you talked to on Rivals is a good source.


Guy may have been mistaken, but he doesn’t make stuff up and neither do I, so just believe it or choose not to believe it. I’m a little hesitant to double back because realizing that no one else has heard it, I’m worried that I may have jumped the gun mentioning it in passing. And now with him turning us down, it might be a more sensitive topic than it was when it looked like he was coming here… so just take it for what it’s worth. I don’t do fabulism but I may have been mistaken. I don’t think so, though.

(I also don’t find it unrealistic at all that a potential assistant would be asked to run a basic practice with some pretty standard drills, etc.)