Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch became the highest-paid assistant coach in program history Wednesday when the OU Board of Regents approved his inaugural deal.
Grinch will make $1.4 million his first season, eclipsing OU head coach Lincoln Riley's former title of the Sooners' highest paid assistant; before assuming his current role, Riley was paid $1.3 million in 2017 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Grinch's first contract runs until January 31, 2022.
The large sum, funded privately through donors, indicates OU's desire to improve its defensive numbers, some of which hit rock bottom last fall. The Sooners finished 2018 ranked 114th in total defense, the worst figure in school history, which is 34 spots lower than 2017, following three consecutive seasons finishing 74th or worse.
But OU's administration also had to meet Grinch's market value.
He was officially hired Jan. 4 after one season as Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator. His contract with the Buckeyes was worth $1,158,938 annually with an $800,000 base salary, though portion of his total sum was allotted as a signing bonus to cover his buyout from Washington State.
Grinch said during his introductory press conference that he recognized the need to move quickly.
"Every team in the country right now is working through their offseason," he said. "And we’ve got to have a real sense of urgency to kind of play catchup, if you will. We don’t have guys three years in the system, four years in the system. So we have to do a good job as teachers to get them geared up, but thrilled. Thrilled to be here and understand the importance of Oklahoma football to this state and excited to bring my family out here and be a part of it."