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Thorburn Interview With Burman: details on hiring Sawvell, his contract, vision for the future.

DamThatRiver22

Well-known member
Pretty good interview on the Pokescast podcast that sheds some light on everything: https://omny.fm/shows/pokescast/wyoming-ad-tom-burman-on-craig-bohls-retirement-ja

Says he had a pretty good idea over the summer that this might be it for Bohl. Did talk to numerous ADs, watched a lot of football (including FCS football), etc.

Kept coming back to Sawvell based on a number of factors, including:

-Worries about timing, and an exodus/not being able to stop the bleeding of recruits, overall system continuity

-Decades as a coach, P5 experience, has coached under numerous well-respected coaches, played himself at a college known for churning out HC talent

-Exit interviews with players; Sawvell is well-liked and respected amongst his players (this has been backed up by numerous players publicly congratulating him on social media and saying it's well deserved)

-Sawvell's vision for the future: Understands the strengths of our defensive philosophy under Bohl, knows that changes need to be made offensively and with special teams. Wants to pick up the pace offensively. Burman noted that a 7-9 point increase in PPG likely gets us a MWCCG appearance this year, and that's a glaring issue that's been discussed with Jay.

Contract details:

-5 years

-Base $1.1MM/year (300k salary +800k in guarantees)

-Incentives: Capped at $250k, half of which is pretty easily attainable

Puts him pretty much midpack in the MWC, still on the low end-ish but not uncompetitive. All amounts are incremental in subsequent years, obviously....he'll have a chance to work his way up. All in all, seems like a fairly average contract for a first year HC in the MWC with some qualifications.

I'm not a big fan of the term; I would have rather started at 3 years. But Burman made no mention of how large the buyout is. I'm okay with the term if the buyout is manageable.

Both Sawvel and Burman understand the need for a decent assistant pool; they'll converse after the bowl game regarding any changes Jay wants to make or that happen in general and how much they'll need to get who they want.

(Also various thoughts in there regarding the current state of the program, NIL, etc., and made mention that part of what put Bohl over the top in the MWC this year regarding salary was that a retention bonus came due, so his salary wasn't actually quite as high as has been noted.)

I know Burman's not very popular around these parts, but it's a good listen and he's not a complete idiot.
 
Good summary, thanks

I guess I take Burman at his word that approached the year as if Bohl may be on his way out. But how different does that contingency planning look from a honest-to-goodness coaching search to fill a real vacancy?
 
Poke in New England said:
Good summary, thanks

I guess I take Burman at his word that approached the year as if Bohl may be on his way out. But how different does that contingency planning look from a honest-to-goodness coaching search to fill a real vacancy?

You're welcome.

To be honest, without a known, official vacancy, you can't necessarily go conducting official interviews and you have to be careful of who you talk to and what you say when feeling around other athletic departments. Like, there's about three different cans of worms you can open up there. Rumors have very real consequences, and you kneecap Bohl if he decides to stay for another year. Plus, now you've got a pissed-off Bohl who's been blindsided because everything's blowing up in his last year and you damn near made the decision for him. Which leads to the the next point...

On the other side, Burman kinda addressed this (regarding once he and Bohl had the "official" meeting and the decision to retire was made). These days, once the cat is out of the bag....even if an "official" search only lasts ten days or so, by that time you've lost most of your staff and half your roster and you've blown everything up. He said that honestly, within the first ten minutes of news breaking, some of these kids and assistant coaches are already getting the initial texts. Once those texts turn into "dialogue" (Burman's words), you've lost.

Wyoming isn't in a position where we need to rebuild, so why risk blowing everything up right as the transfer portal is opening and coaching silly season is in full swing. And then you've got a VERY limited amount of time during coaching "free agency", portal time, and the time before ESD (Early Signing Day), to get everything figured out and not leave your next coach handicapped from the very get-go.

If you've already got a guy you're pretty comfortable with (and your current players and recruits really like)...that all just makes it easier to pick him.

Kindof a different world we're having to navigate than even just ten years ago when Bohl was hired.
 
Say what you will about Burman, but that was as transparent an interview as I've ever heard with any athletic director.
 
ragtimejoe1 said:
Interesting salary.

What do you mean? Structure-wise or amount-wise?

It's pretty run of the mill either way.

If you're referring to the way the base pay is structured (salary+guarantees), that's actually the way the vast majority of coaching contracts at public universities are technically structured (for a few reasons). "Base pay" and "salary" often get conflated by the general public, but yea. There's nothing new or weird there. For all intents and purposes, he has a $1.1MM "salary", it's just technically cobbled together from different sources and structured in a way that seems weird to the average fan.

As far as amount goes, $1.1MM ($1.25MM or so if he's even remotely competent) is pretty standard for a fairly qualified first-year MWC coach, and is just barely behind several of his non-first-year peers. On the same hand, it's nowhere remotely near what Bohl or the top of the MWC is making, and rightly so.

WYO1016 said:
Say what you will about Burman, but that was as transparent an interview as I've ever heard with any athletic director.

Yea, I mean I don't have the hatred for Tom that most of this board does, but even I expected maybe some hemming and hawwing, especially over contract details (but also over other stuff). I didn't even expect him to come out and reveal the deets like that, at least not yet. Twas pleasantly surprising.

His competency may be debatable by some/many, but I've never gotten the slimy/sleazeball vibe from him and he's certainly not trying to hide anything here. Disagree with the decisions/reasoning all you want, but he truly believes he made the right call and is willing to explain the why of everything from his side.
 
His contract is almost the same as Choate got at Nevada. I think he was 5 years, $5.5 million.
 
quote=DamThatRiver22 post_id=276815 time=1701962328 user_id=10827]
ragtimejoe1 said:
Why pay more? 900k base with incentives for success. If he wins, he'd be in the upper half. Literally no other fbs program would hire him for head coach. 900k + potential incentives is more than fair.

Firstly, every coach in the MWC has built-in incentives. He wouldn't be the only one hitting them, and it wouldn't move the needle on his position much...especially with how low you're wanting to pay him in the first place.

Secondly, as I mentioned, you can pile all the incentives on there all you want, but setting a base salary that low almost guarantees a proportionately lower assistant pool, which cuts his legs out from under him. Y'all don't want to blow everything up.....but do you really think anyone is going to take a pay cut to stay? And do you think he's going to be able to subsequently hire a competent staff on a bottomfeeder pool?

Thirdly, you straight up don't know what calls he's gotten, or what calls he would have gotten had he not immediately been named successor. He has 8 years as a P5 DC. He was well-liked at Minnesota, floundered a bit at Wake, and has spent four years since as DC under one of the best defensive-minded HCs in the country in Bohl. I don't think he's the cream of the crop by any means, but your adamant assertion that he wouldn't get any HC job anywhere in the country for the insanely low amount you want to pay him is absurd. There are several HCs in the SBC, CUSA, and MAC that make higher than that and several teams in those conferences would probably love to have an established name in Sawvell (who isn't nearly as much of an unknown presence as some people in our little bubble here seem to think), lmao.

And fourthly, let me reiterate that it's a bad look for the program and any potential future coaches and assistants.

Again, I'm f*cking glad none of you are ADs. Y'all want to have your cake and eat it, too, and you'd drive the program into the ground day 1. Disagree with the hire all you want, but now that it's done your vision of the financial aspect is insane. People want Bohl or better performance on a bottom 2-3 MWC coaching and assistant pool...that's insane.

:rofl:
 
His base pay starts at almost a quarter mil higher than what you wanted, putting him just barely shy of what both Hoke and Anderson (two far more experienced and qualified coaches further into their contracts) made.

You, on the other hand, wanted to pay him less than what even Wilson made.

Don't hurt yourself stretching that far to try to make some sort of point. Lmao.
 
DamThatRiver22 said:
His base pay starts at almost a quarter mil higher than what you wanted, putting him just barely shy of what both Hoke and Anderson (two far more experienced and qualified coaches further into their contracts) made.

You, on the other hand, wanted to pay him less than what even Wilson made.

Don't hurt yourself stretching that far to try to make some sort of point. Lmao.

Umm, ok. 900k + incentives to get to upper half is a lot different than what he got...eye of the beholder.

For the record, I didn't want basement salary for the hc position. I wanted to go to 2.5 mill+ BUT go get somebody that has the experience to build.

You don't need to pay new hc candidates more than 900k. FFS Kill makes what, 3 mill over 5 years? Burman overpaid on this hire but not by too much. Still would have been better to retain that 200-300k and put it in the coordinator salary pool for DC.

Of course, it will probably be another internal promotion for that position, so what the hell.

Yeah, you are right. This is a honerun hire and process that should have been paid what Bohl is getting. Burman is a damn genius for getting him so cheap.
 
ragtimejoe1 said:
DamThatRiver22 said:
His base pay starts at almost a quarter mil higher than what you wanted, putting him just barely shy of what both Hoke and Anderson (two far more experienced and qualified coaches further into their contracts) made.

You, on the other hand, wanted to pay him less than what even Wilson made.

Don't hurt yourself stretching that far to try to make some sort of point. Lmao.

Umm, ok. 900k + incentives to get to upper half is a lot different than what he got...eye of the beholder.

For the record, I didn't want basement salary for the hc position. I wanted to go to 2.5 mill+ BUT go get somebody that has the experience to build.

You don't need to pay new hc candidates more than 900k. FFS Kill makes what, 3 mill over 5 years? Burman overpaid on this hire but not by too much. Still would have been better to retain that 200-300k and put it in the coordinator salary pool for DC.

Of course, it will probably be another internal promotion for that position, so what the hell.

Yeah, you are right. This is a honerun hire and process that should have been paid what Bohl is getting. Burman is a damn genius for getting him so cheap.

There is plenty of topics to be critical of Burman for (and I have been) ..... There is no need to strawman everybody. I've seen a lot of people cautiously optimistic, but I'm not seeing mentions that this is a "homerun" hire except for your characterizations of other people.
 
307bball said:
ragtimejoe1 said:
Umm, ok. 900k + incentives to get to upper half is a lot different than what he got...eye of the beholder.

For the record, I didn't want basement salary for the hc position. I wanted to go to 2.5 mill+ BUT go get somebody that has the experience to build.

You don't need to pay new hc candidates more than 900k. FFS Kill makes what, 3 mill over 5 years? Burman overpaid on this hire but not by too much. Still would have been better to retain that 200-300k and put it in the coordinator salary pool for DC.

Of course, it will probably be another internal promotion for that position, so what the hell.

Yeah, you are right. This is a honerun hire and process that should have been paid what Bohl is getting. Burman is a damn genius for getting him so cheap.

There is plenty of topics to be critical of Burman for (and I have been) ..... There is no need to strawman everybody. I've seen a lot of people cautiously optimistic, but I'm not seeing mentions that this is a "homerun" hire except for your characterizations of other people.

In Tom we trust.
 
ragtimejoe1 said:
307bball said:
There is plenty of topics to be critical of Burman for (and I have been) ..... There is no need to strawman everybody. I've seen a lot of people cautiously optimistic, but I'm not seeing mentions that this is a "homerun" hire except for your characterizations of other people.

In Tom we trust.

Care to elaborate? Does it anger you that die-hard pokes fans are not lighting torches and gathering pitchforks and heading to Burman's office?
 
307bball said:
ragtimejoe1 said:
In Tom we trust.

Care to elaborate? Does it anger you that die-hard pokes fans are not lighting torches and gathering pitchforks and heading to Burman's office?

In my opinion, WYO is what WYO is partly because there is a lack of accountability. The Sternberg report from outside professionals indirectly gets at this.

No, it does not anger me BUT it also doesn't change my opinion. Unlike some of out moderators, I try to not resort to personal attacks on posters or even Burman. I try to stick to data of his decisions and historical results. I disagree with his decision on the process for this hire.

It is my opinion, that 17 years should have produced more championships not just in football.
 
ragtimejoe1 said:
307bball said:
Care to elaborate? Does it anger you that die-hard pokes fans are not lighting torches and gathering pitchforks and heading to Burman's office?

In my opinion, WYO is what WYO is partly because there is a lack of accountability. The Sternberg report from outside professionals indirectly gets at this.

No, it does not anger me BUT it also doesn't change my opinion. Unlike some of out moderators, I try to not resort to personal attacks on posters or even Burman. I try to stick to data of his decisions and historical results. I disagree with his decision on the process for this hire.

It is my opinion, that 17 years should have produced more championships not just in football.

There is so much common ground between you and I in this. I respect that you believe it is a mistake to have gone down the internal hire route. I do not respect it when people who don't think it is a mistake are mis-represented as being pro-status quo or accepting mediocrity or whatever.

The decision Tom made was imminently defensible...unlike some of the other decisions he has made. This will be true even if Sawvell doesn't work out.
 
Agree to disagree again. My opinion is that he had the resources and opportunity to try to take the next step.

If he's right, then I'm obviously wrong and you are correct. We'll see next year.

I also disagree that the decision is defensible regardless of how it turns out. Point we disagree on. Different viewpoint.
 
ragtimejoe1 said:
Agree to disagree again. My opinion is that he had the resources and opportunity to try to take the next step.

If he's right, then I'm obviously wrong and you are correct. We'll see next year.

I also disagree that the decision is defensible regardless of how it turns out. Point we disagree on. Different viewpoint.

The bolded part is something you and I agree on BTW....

Again....I'm taking issue mostly with your characterization of what others are saying about Burman. There are few if any pro-Burman supporters posting here. Most seem to just not care.

You have made some fantastic observations as it pertains to the barriers to a successful football program at Wyoming not being primarily about the coach. If that is true....(and I think it is) then it would seem to be insane to do what you and I would like to see happen.....namely ratchet up the coaches pay and get a high profile hire. For myself...the reason I want to see that happen is because that would be a sign that Wyoming is finally getting serious about winning in CFB. It would mean that other things have fundamentally changed.
 
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