MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — College football is big business. That’s one reason why Tim Brewster lost his job this weekend. He went 15-and-30 as Gopher football coach and the fear of losing fan support, along with losing games, entered into the decision to fire him. Now they’ll start shopping for a replacement, while also paying his severance package.
The Gophers know that hiring a new coach will cost money. The question is how much they can afford to spend or whether they can afford not to.
In some regards, the Gophers got what they paid for with Tim Brewster. He made $1 million per year, but that was only 66th on the college football salary list.
Now he’ll get an additional $600,000 to go away, while the Gophers go shopping again.
“We’re out here to find somebody that people can recognize, people have confidence in and people are going to bring instant credibility and notoriety to the football program,” said Gopher Athletic Director Joel Maturi.
Although that sounds like he’s describing another Lou Holtz, the price of coaches has gone up since then. The top five salaries are all more than $3.8 million, and the Big Ten average is $1.8 million.
So, how would the fans feel about a contract in the $2 million range?
“It’s a lot of money,: said Jason Kask, a graduate student in kinesiology. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth it, but if they want a program that’ll win, it might be the way they have to go.”
“I think if they find the right guy,” said Junior Adam Godes. “It’s a good price.”
And Denis Kelly of North St. Paul said, “I think they’re going to have to spend money to make money, and to make it work for the University of Minnesota.”
And that’s the rub.
Right now, TCF Bank Stadium is full at $60 a seat. But if that falls by 10,000 per game, a real possibility if they keep losing, the lost revenue adds up to $4.2 million per year.
Those are the numbers that have to scare coaches of the other teams on campus, because if the Gophers lose that revenue, they’re still likely to keep spending on football, and cut back spending on the non-revenue sports that football supports.
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