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BOULDER, Colo. - April 7, 2021: Colorado defensive coordinator Chris Wilson during the Buffaloes’ spring football practice on Wednesday in Boulder. (University of Colorado Athletics)
BOULDER, Colo. – April 7, 2021: Colorado defensive coordinator Chris Wilson during the Buffaloes’ spring football practice on Wednesday in Boulder. (University of Colorado Athletics)

The Colorado football program will have its highest-ever salary pool for assistant coaches this season.

CU’s 10 full-time assistant coaches will be paid roughly $3.455 million combined this season – a slight jump from the previous high in 2020. A year ago, CU’s assistants had a combined salary pool of $3.425 million, but that was before coaches took 5% pay cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the pool to roughly $3.25 million.

Offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini leads the group with a 2021 salary of $600,000. Chiaverini is in the second year of a three-year contract worth an average of $600,000 per year.

Defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Chris Wilson signed a new three-year deal earlier this year after being promoted to coordinator. Similar to Chiaverini, Wilson’s deal is worth an average of $600,000 per year. He will make $550,000 this year, with $50,000 raises each of the next two years.

Offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue ($400,000 this year), quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf ($375,000) and cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin ($300,000) are all in the second year of two-year deals they signed a year ago.

Inside linebackers coach Mark Smith ($210,000 this year) and tight ends coach Bryan Cook ($200,000) are in the first year of two-year deals signed when they were hired last winter.

Safeties coach Brett Maxie is set to make $375,000 this year, with running backs coach Darian Hagan at $235,000 and outside linebackers coach Brian Michalowski at $210,000. Strength and conditioning coordinator Shannon Turley is set to make $240,000 in his first year with the program.

Maxie, Hagan, Michalowski and Turley are at-will employees, meaning they do not have contracts. It will be the first time since 2017 that CU will have some full-time assistant football coaches as at-will employees.

Prior to the 2018 season, CU was not able to put all of its coaches under contract because of state legislation that allowed for only six multi-year contracts in the entire athletic department. Typically, the offensive and defensive coordinators were the only assistants to get contracts.

A senate bill passed in 2017 allowed CU athletics to offer multi-year deals to an unlimited number of coaches. From 2018-20, all of CU’s 10 assistants and head strength coach had contracts.

A CU spokesperson told BuffZone, “The decision to put coaches on contract or at will is a personnel decision made between the employee and the athletic department.”

Maxie, promoted to defensive passing game coordinator in the offseason, had signed a two-year deal in 2020 that would have paid him $350,000 this year. Instead, he got a raise and promotion and is now at-will.

Hagan and Michalowski both had contracts expire after last season. Although now at-will employees, both got $10,000 raises for this year.