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Virginia Tech releases salary figures for revamped coaching staff
special report

Virginia Tech releases salary figures for revamped coaching staff

Justin Hamilton

Virginia Tech safeties coach Justin Hamilton works players through drills during fall camp in 2019. 

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech’s athletic department has released salary information for its new-look football coaching staff, and there were some significant raises for some.

The Hokies released the number for newly promoted assistant coaches Justin Hamilton and Adam Lechtenberg, along with the four assistants they hired.

Hamilton will make $600,000 in his first year as defensive coordinator and Lechtenberg will make $200,000 as the running backs coach.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s salary in his final year with the team was $975,000. Hamilton’s salary last year was $200,000 in his first year as the team’s safeties coach. Lechtenberg made $175,000 in his player development role that counted as the team’s 10th assistant.

Linebackers coach Tracy Claeys will make $500,000, defensive backs coach Ryan Smith $175,000, defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck will make $400,000 and co-defensive line coach Darryl Tapp will make $175,000.

Claeys made $583,333 as Washington State’s defensive coordinator last year, but stepped down at midseason.

Last year, Tech paid running backs coach Zohn Burden, defensive backs coach Brian Mitchell and defensive line coach Charley Wiles each $280,000.

The team’s new director of football operations Kevin Cristello will make $150,000.

Tech released the information in response to a freedom of information request from The Roanoke Times. The length of the contracts weren’t made available.

Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen and offensive line coach Vance Vice have letters of appointments that expire in June. Special teams coach James Shibest has one year remaining on his contract.

The assistants were given a pay raise in 2018. Cornelsen’s contract called for him to make $490,000 annually (up from $465,000) and Vice’s salary was upped to $280,000 (from $270,000).

Athletic director Whit Babcock told reporters in January that his plan was to sit down with both assistants and work out a new deal in the coming weeks.

According to USA Today’s coaching salary database, Tech’s total salary pool for assistants in 2019 was $3.67 million and ranked No. 37 nationally.

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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