Georgia football sends ‘energy’ message with Matt Luke, Scott Cochran contract extensions
ATHENS —Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has spent more time around this team ands taff than others because of COVID-19, and he’s made it clear he likes them.
Smart and the Bulldogs did their part to lock down offensive line coach Matt Luke and special teams coach Scott Cochran for an additional three and two years, per contracts acquired by DawgNation on Wednesday through a FOIA request.
Luke has a guaranteed contract that runs June 30, 2023, while Cochran’s guaranteed deal — negotiated in February — runs through June 30, 2022.
Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning got a one-year extension on to his guaranteed contract last week, through the 2022 season, at his $1.25 million salary.
Smart has talked up all three of those assistants, with “energy” being the common bond.
The Cochran hire sent shockwaves earlier this offseason, with Smart providing the former Alabama strength and conditioning guru a position coach opportunity that Nick Saban would not.
“Scott’s energy has certainly come through,” Smart said on Aug. 16, his most recent media interview. “ He’s an energetic, very demanding coach, and has done a very good job in front of the team and the units. I think he’s very comfortable doing that because he was always in front of the team in his past jobs being a strength coach.
“He’s done a good job with that and the players respect him and a lot of them know him through recruiting.”
Cochran was hired in at $550,000 a year, and his extension will raise that to $575,000.
Smart and Luke were fast friends from the time he was hired on Dec. 10.
It’s no wonder when once considers their strikingly similar backgrounds.
Luke played offensive line at Ole Miss from 1995-1998, the same years Smart was playing football at Georgia. Luke also coached his alma mater, taking over the Rebels’ program in 2017 on an interim basis and coaching through the 2019 season.
“Coach Luke is a big part of that energy, getting him on staff fast was probably one of the critical roles to that transition,” Smart said during the Bulldogs’ signing day press conference in February.
“It wasn’t a long time process where they had to sit on the unknown. Two days, three days after Coach (Sam) Pittman left these kids had somebody new to meet and began to meet them before the middle dead period, the Christmas dead period.
“It was critical so that he could communicate with them throughout that period and keep a relationship. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s been a blessing for us. In addition, it helps me from a head coach standpoint. It did help a lot on the offensive line.”
Luke’s contract has him making $900,000 annually.
Five of the seven returning Georgia football assistant coaches received raises after last season. Defensive backs coach Charlton Warren and receivers coach Cortez Hankton were the two exceptions.
Georgia football assistant salaries, 2020/2019
(per information attained via FOIA request)
DC Dan Lanning (2020) $1.25 million; (2019) $750,000
RB coach Dell McGee (2020) $675,000; (2019) $650.000
DB coach Charlton Warren (2020) $600,000; (2019) $600,000
LB coach Glenn Schumann (2020) $600,000; (2019) $550,000
DL coach Tray Scott (2020) $600,000; (2019) $470,000
WR Cortez Hankton (2020) $550,000; (2019) $550,000
TE Todd Hartley (2020) $400,000; (2019) $350,000
Georgia football preseason