LINCOLN — Two of Nebraska’s position coaches and most-active recruiters, linebackers coach Trent Bray and wide receivers coach Keith Williams, have received contract extensions and major pay raises from Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst.
Both received contract extensions through Jan. 31, 2018.
Bray’s new salary for the 2016 season is $300,000. In 2017, he’ll receive $325,000. Bray worked on a one-year contract in 2015 and was paid $250,000. Bray followed coach Mike Riley from Oregon State, where he was also a linebackers coach. In his first year at Nebraska, Bray managed a lack of depth at his position, injuries and a suspension. As a result, NU had to start both a true freshman (Dedrick Young) and a walk-on (Chris Weber).
“He’s done a great job,” Weber said in a mid-October story on Bray, which focused on the coach’s non-stop motor and high standards for energy and punctuality.
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“If you expect them to come with enthusiasm and energy, then you have to come out to do the same,” Bray said in that story. “That’s a big part of what I try to do — have energy, have enthusiasm — so it rubs off on them.”
On the recruiting trail, Bray landed several more linebackers for the 2016 cycle, including Quayshon Alexander, Pernell Jefferson, JoJo Domann and Greg Simmons.
Williams will be paid $400,000 in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, Williams’ salary was $275,000. Under the previous contract, he was due to make $300,000 in 2016. After a long stint at Tulane, his up-tempo style of blending tough love and humor has been a hit with receivers. Williams also tutors several NFL wideouts, including the Packers’ James Jones. In fall camp, Williams had to juggle practice repetitions because of a high volume of injuries.
“He’s demanded a lot but also taught, in total, very well,” Riley said in August of Williams. “Because it’s a mess. Everyone would like to have the same guys playing the same position every day for three weeks, but life doesn’t always work like that.”
Keith Williams’ son, Keyan Williams, transferred from Fresno State and is on Nebraska’s roster.
Assuming no other changes occur to football assistant salaries, the total base salary pool for NU assistants in 2016 is $3.725 million. That total does not include bonuses.
Four-star receiver picks Louisville over Nebraska
The Huskers lost out on one of their top targets Monday when Waterford (Mich.) Mott wideout Desmond Fitzpatrick committed to Louisville over NU. A four-star prospect, Fitzpatrick had been widely considered to be a Nebraska lean – to the point of being a “silent commit” before taking one final visit to Louisville, a school to which Fitzpatrick had been committed for months before decommitting.
Fitzpatrick announced his decision via a video on Bleacher Report. In it, Fitzpatrick catches footballs from various sources – usually off camera – before catching a phone, talking to a fictional coach and finally holding up a football with a Louisville logo on it.
Greg Fitzpatrick, father of Desmond Fitzpatrick, told the World-Herald Monday night that his son did silently commit to NU, in part because of wide receivers coach Keith Williams.
“Dez fell in love with Coach Williams and his style and felt as though he would be key to his on-the-field success, so he gave (Nebraska) a silent commit,” Greg Fitzpatrick wrote in a text.
When Desmond Fitzpatrick flipped his commitment to Louisville Monday, Greg Fitzpatrick said “everyone was surprised, including myself.”
Greg Fitzpatrick said his son always felt at home on Louisville's campus and received more clarity about the direction of the offense while on his official visit. Desmond Fitzpatrick also had concerns, Greg said, about Nebraska.
“He also feels one position coach doesn't outweigh the bad weather, distance and weaker conference/division of the Big Ten West,” Greg Fitzpatrick wrote. “He stated he wanted an opportunity to play against Alabama and at a place that has always felt like home. In a nutshell, he changed his mind and when with his heart.”
NU still has two receivers in the 2016 class. One Stockton (Calif.) McNair slot Derrion Grim, is already enrolled. Another, Eden Prairie (Minn.) slot JD Spielman, arrives in June. The class appears to lack an outside receiver, but Olathe (Kan.) North athlete Isaiah Simmons could fit the bill. He's deciding between Clemson, Nebraska and Michigan on Signing Day.
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