Nevada's new defensive coordinator, Brian Ward, highest-paid assistant in program history

Brian Ward
Brian Ward comes to Nevada after a stint at Syracuse. (Michael J. Okoniewski/Syracuse Athletic Communications)

Nevada's new defensive coordinator, Brian Ward, will be the highest-paid assistant coach in Wolf Pack football history, just edging his predecessor, Jeff Casteel, but Nevada will remain at the bottom of the Mountain West in paying football coaches.

Ward, formerly the defensive coordinator at Syracuse, was one of five new assistants hired by head coach Jay Norvell this offseason. Ward's deal will pay him $250,000 annually in base salary. Casteel's base salary last season was $245,864.

The Wolf Pack's other new assistant coaches include offensive line coach Bill Best ($150,000 per year), cornerbacks coach Freddie Banks ($130,000), safeties coach Ronnie Wheat III ($130,000) and special teams coordinator Thomas Sheffield ($105,000).

Nevada Sports Net obtained the salary information through a public record request, although the contracts for each coach were not released because only contracts that go before the Board of Regents are public record. Only Ward's contract is required to go through the Regents, although his deal has not be finalized yet, the university said. As a result, it is unknown whether these deals are multiple-year contracts or one-year pacts.

The quintet of new coaches will make a combined $765,000 next season, down from the combined $813,446 the five coaches they are replacing made last season. The Wolf Pack ranked 10th out of 10 Mountain West teams last season in total coaching salary (Hawaii and Air Force aren't required to reveal their salaries). Nevada's 10 assistant coaches last season made a combined $1,472,524, also 10th in the conference.

Ward's salary at Syracuse last season was not included in the USA Today assistant coaching salary database because the Orange are a private school. Ward is the second-highest paid assistant coach in Nevada history behind only Wolf Pack associate head basketball coach Craig Neal, who is making $270,000 this season.

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