Throughout his football career, J.J. Watt has given back through his foundation and the $37 million he raised for Hurricane Harvey victims, so it was not surprising when it was reported on Friday that the former Wisconsin walk-on turned NFL great told officials that he would pay for the funerals of the 10 victims killed during the Santa Fe High School shooting.
For Walk-On This Way, I remember speaking with Bret Bielema, Charlie Partridge, NX Level’s Brad Arnett, and Watt’s high school coach, Clay Iverson, among others. A lot of it was about his on-field work ethic and performance, but my conversation with J.J.’s father, John, always stood out to me the most. Chatting via phone with me and my co-author, former Wisconsin tight end Joel Nellis, he discussed how his oldest son proposed the J.J. Watt Foundation during his junior year of college and how he handles himself even despite the large popularity that follows him.
As a parent of three boys myself, I asked John how he raised his sons and what advice he had for me. I was not asking about how to develop them from student-athletes to the multi-millionaires that I have had the pleasure of covering in nearly five years at B5Q. It was genuinely asking how to corral three young, energetic boys into becoming men and being fruitful contributors to society. I hope my sons have the heart and goodwill toward humanity that J.J. has shown for those less fortunate than he is.
As a father of three, a separate conversation needs to be had regarding the senseless, horrific school shootings that are plaguing us as a country, but I will save that for a later time.
A look at Wisconsin coaches’ new salaries
First reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus and later by the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway, Wisconsin has increased its salaries for returning assistants for the 2018 season.
Here is the breakdown:
Some updated info on salaries for #Badgers assistants: WR coach Ted— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) May 16, 2018
Gilmore up to $400,000 for '18. Was at $265,000 last season.
#Badgers ILB coach Bob Bostad at $375,000 for '18 (up from $300,000); DL coach Inoke Breckterfield at $400,000 (up from $215,000); RB coach John Settle at $375,000 (up from $220,000)....— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) May 16, 2018
#Badgers ST coach Chris Haering at $425,000 (up from $250,000); and TE coach Mickey Turner at $175,000 (up from $125,000).— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) May 16, 2018
#Badgers football assistants info: If you add up all the raises for the RETURNING coaches you get an increase of $1,261,866. That includes new annual comp packages for Leonhard/Rudolph. New: Bobby April III at $300K; Budmayr at $150K.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) May 16, 2018
USA Today has salary figures for 12 of 14 B1G schools (No PSU/Northwestern) for '17. #Badgers assistant pool in '17 no better than 7th in B1G. Based on LAST SEASON numbers, UW would be third behind Michigan + OSU. That assumes no bumps at NEB/Iowa.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) May 16, 2018
As Galloway noted, offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard also recently received bumps in pay:
Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, whose updated compensation agreements were released by UW last month, also received raises.
Leonhard, a candidate for high-profile jobs throughout the coaching carousel this offseason, earned the biggest increase. He now makes $795,200 annually, up from $600,000, and will receive $500,000 in retention bonuses over the next three years. Rudolph now earns $720,200, up from $650,000, and is set to earn $150,000 in retention bonuses over the next three years.
What does this mean in the long run? I want to see this fall when the new numbers come out for assistants’ salaries where Wisconsin stands—as do we all—but I believe the argument from a previous head coach that UW does not pay its assistants can be put to rest.
As Potrykus noted based on the 2017 numbers, Wisconsin would be third out of 12 teams, though I have a gut feeling Nebraska will leap above UW with the addition of Scott Frost. We also don’t know Penn State and Northwestern’s numbers, as they did not release their figures.
These numbers are competitive. Just how competitive to keep successful assistants who recruit and develop successful student-athletes compared to the Michigan/Ohio State/LSU/Alabama/Florida State’s of the world will be tested once again this upcoming offseason, especially if the results for this 2018 Wisconsin squad meet the early offseason hype.
Personally—and I know a few of us on this site have commented on it before in various comments sections—I feel like wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore should receive a dump truck of money pulled up to his front lawn for what he has accomplished with this receiving corp since his arrival in Madison.