Will Muschamp receives raise from Florida Gators, is Texas a threat to poach him?

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp reacts after they beat the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Florida head coach Will Muschamp must think it’s pretty great being a Gator right about now. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Forget being a gangster. Dang it feels great to be a Florida Gator. At least, it must if you are head football coach Will Muschamp. After limping through a six-loss inaugural season in Gainesville, Muschamp led Florida to 11 wins in 2012, showing vast improvement on both sides of the ball and proving to be the type of disciplinarian the program needed after Urban Meyer left.

For his efforts, Coach Boom has been rewarded with a $250,000 per year raise, bringing his annual salary to a cool $2,928,971, according to Sporting News.

“Dr. Machen and I believe strongly in coach Muschamp and his leadership, and we felt it was appropriate to adjust his salary to be more in line with his market value,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement Friday.

Of course, seeing as Muschamp is employed within the SEC, nearly $3 million annually looks like a pittance. In fact, of the 14 schools in the conference, Muschamp’s salary only ranks seventh: Nick Saban ($5.47 million), Les Miles ($3.8 million), Steve Spurrier ($3.3 million), Mark Richt ($3.2 million), Bret Bielema ($3.2 million) and Kevin Sumlin ($3.1 million).

Vanderbilt is a private school, so it does not have to divulge such numbers, but coach James Franklin’s salary is rumored to be around the $3 million range as well.

One of the reasons Sporting News believes the Florida athletic department was so keen to up Muschamp’s salary was the prospect of Texas potentially throwing its program’s weight into poaching him in the event that Mack Brown retires.

Muschamp was the coach-in-waiting in Austin and Brown’s defensive coordinator until the Florida job opened up. At that point, Brown admitted to having no plans to retire. If he was not going anywhere, there was no reason for Muschamp to stay, so he didn’t, accepting the Gators head coaching position.

If Brown does step down at any point, the Longhorns will have no trouble offering a guy like Muschamp more than $3 million. After all, Brown is the second-highest paid coach in the nation – behind only Saban – at $5.3 million a year.

For now, Muschamp is a Gator, and an extremely well-paid one at that. However, Jeremy Foley is one of the nation’s premiere athletic directors and he understands how these things work better than most. He did not need to up Muschamp’s salary, but perhaps he is already sniffing a potential bidding war down the road.

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