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From high to low

Success yields its rewards, particularly among salaries for the head football coaches and their assistants in the Southeastern Conference.

In analyzing the salaries of 11 of the 12 schools — Vanderbilt is a private university and does not provide those figures — the most successful league teams over the last 5-7 years also have the highest paid staffs.

LSU, which won a national championship in 2003, leads the league with a budget of $1.88 million for its nine assistant coaches. Auburn is right behind at $1.87 million.

Alabama hasn’t released figures for its newly hired staff, but Mike Shula’s staff earned just more than $1.5 million a year ago, and it’s believed that Nick Saban has a $2 million budget for his assistants, which would be the league high.

Those numbers are a far cry from the bottom of the league where Mississippi State and South Carolina reside. Mississippi State and South Carolina each have a budget of $1.3 million for their assistant coaches.

Mississippi’s budget might be slightly higher after the contracts of three coaches – David Turner, Rockey Felker and Reed Stringer — are approved.

There are reasons for that discrepancy, competitiveness being chief among them. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said it’s based on several things.

"We don’t have too many high-priced assistants right now, but I hope to one day," Spurrier said. "It’s sort of based on performance and how much in demand that coach is. If a head coach is making $2 million, an offensive or defensive coordinator should be making a half-million themselves."

Kentucky moved up a couple of notches in the rankings after the administration handed out raises across the board. Kentucky had a budget of $1.3 million for its assistants but that jumped up to $1.5 million.

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