SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Big bucks not to coach

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 05:59 PM.

Some coaches, such as former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, can break the rules, be fired and still walk away with a nice check in their pocket.

It's not uncommon for football and men's basketball coaches at major universities to receive a seven-figure buyout when their teams underachieve.

Former Tennessee football Coach Derek Dooley — who never had a winning season in his three years in Knoxville — walked away with a settlement that paid him $5 million not to coach UT. Dooley is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys, making NFL money to supplement the money he's receiving from Tennessee.

Only about 30 or 40 of the elite athletic departments with powerful booster clubs can afford to throw away that kind of money.

Schools such as Troy or South Alabama pay their coaches well compared to the average salary most of us make. But those schools won't empty the bank to pay a coach not to come back.

Still, it's nice to think about what might have happened if I had gone into coaching, made it to the top of a big program and then been fired.

I think I could live off a multi-million dollar buyout.

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