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Scarlet Sunrise: Five Ohio State assistants now earning seven-figure base salaries

Andy Backstrom03/17/23
Article written by:On3 imageAndy Backstrom


Brian Hartline by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Ohio State assistant Brian Hartline coaches in a November win at Northwestern during the 2022 season. Hartline is now both the wide receivers coach and the offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Buckeyes football, recruiting, basketball and more in Scarlet Sunrise.

Five Ohio State assistants now earning seven-figure base salaries

The Columbus Dispatch used an open records request to obtain copies of Ohio State football coaching staff contracts. Five Buckeyes assistants are now earning seven-figure base salaries.

Here’s who that group includes:

  • Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jim Knowles: $1.96 million
  • Offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Brian Hartline: $1.6 million
  • Associate head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson: $1.17 million
  • Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Justin Frye: $1 million
  • Defensive Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Tim Walton: $1 million

As for the assistants with the biggest base salary increases…

  1. Brian Hartline: 68.4% — went from $950,000 (2022) to $1.6 million (2023)
  2. Parker Fleming (special teams coordinator): 66.7% — went from $300,000 (2022) to $500,000 (2023)
  3. Tim Walton: 42.9% — went from $700,000 (2022) to $1 million (2023)
  4. Justin Frye: 25.0% — went from $800,000 (2022) to $1 million (2023)

Knowles, Johnson, Tony Alford (assistant head coach for offense/running backs coach), Perry Eliano (safeties coach) and Corey Dennis (quarterbacks coach) all received 3% base salary raises, according to The Dispatch reports from this week and last year.

It’s important to also note that Keenan Bailey, who was promoted from a support staff role to tight ends coach this offseason is now earning a base salary of $400,000. Last year, Bailey earned a base salary of $150,000.

The total salary pool for Ohio State’s on-field staff has climbed to a program high $9.3 million, according to The Dispatch.

Recapping Buckeyes coaching additions, losses this offseason

Because Ohio State has such a deep coaching staff year in and year out, there is bound to be annual turnover. That was once again the case this offseason. So far, there have been 16 coaching moves, both into and out of the program.

That includes promotions, most notably wide receivers coach Brian Hartline getting a title bump for the second straight year and being named offensive coordinator.

Lettermen Row has everything you need to know about each of those departures, additions and promotions. Check it out here.

Tristan Gebbia gets seventh year, head start on coaching career at Ohio State

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day likes to have four scholarship quarterbacks. That’s where seventh-year Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia comes in handy. In addition to depth, however, Gebbia has brought experience and a coach’s eye to Columbus.

Gebbia, 24, wants to pursue a career in coaching after the 2023 season, during which he has the opportunity to act as a pseudo-graduate assistant with the Buckeyes while still suiting up and helping out a young quarterback room.

Gebbia isn’t part of the two-way race for QB1, but he’s a proven leader — he was a three-time captain at Oregon State — and has more starts than the rest of the rostered Ohio State quarterbacks, combined.

For more on Gebbia’s story of adversity, selflessness and mentorship, go here.

Counting down

Buckeyes vs. Indiana: 169 days

Buckeyes vs. Michigan: 253 days

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