Current salary: $502,762
Should be making: $700,000
Usually, when somebody's been employed by a university for 25 years and counting, they've at least got a tenure track to show for it. Ah, but this is college football, not college learning, and Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster is an assistant coach like anybody else.
Foster is at a bit of a crossroads; he's 53 years old, and he's getting right to the point where after a couple more years, his age is going to play a major role in whether big-time college-football programs want to consider him as a head-coaching prospect. Certainly, Foster's resume is impeccable; his Hokies have finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense in seven of the last nine years and in the Top 20 in total defense in five of those seasons.
And yet instead of taking a mid-major job like Memphis or Akron (two programs Foster called "coach killers" in 2011, per The Washington Post), Foster has coached patiently at Virginia Tech since 1987.
Maybe that great job offer comes in the next couple of years and Foster can run the show. But whatever the coaching equivalent of his biological clock is, it's ticking. And other programs can hear it louder than Foster can.
It seems paradoxical in a sport where staying at one school for even 10 years is increasingly rare, but most of these schools want to believe they're hiring a coach for the next 20 years when the call is made.
It's different with Virginia Tech, of course, since Foster is just about as much of a mainstay there in Blacksburg as longtime head coach Frank Beamer is. If Foster's not the first call Virginia Tech makes when Beamer finally hangs 'em up (regardless of whether Foster's even at VT anymore), we'll be shocked. And with every year, it's more likely that Foster'll be right there at Virginia Tech, coaching dutifully.
Virginia Tech should reward him for that longevity—and the $800,000 bonus it has waiting for him at the end of the 2014 season is a nice step toward that. But like Narduzzi, Foster's salary is less than a first-year guy at Arkansas is getting to do the same job. That just seems like an error that needs immediate correction.