One of the top recruiters on Mark Stoops’ UK football staff receives a new contract

One of Kentucky football’s top recruiting assistant coaches is sticking on Mark Stoops’ staff for next season.

Defensive backs coach Chris Collins signed a two-year contract extension last week that included a $75,000 raise for the 2024 season amid rumored interest in Collins from at least one Power Five program this offseason. Collins’ previous contract was set to expire after the 2024 season. Now, he will be paid $475,000 for the 2024-25 school year and $500,000 for the 2025-26 school year.

The contract amendment was released by UK’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Last season, Collins, who primarily coaches UK’s cornerbacks, oversaw breakout seasons from SEC interceptions leader Maxwell Hairston and early NFL draft entrant Andru Phillips. Phillips was recently ranked as the No. 69 prospect in the 2024 draft class by The Athletic after a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Collins previously coached cornerback Carrington Valentine at UK before he went on to start 12 games as a rookie for the Green Bay Packers last season.

Defensive backs coach Chris Collins has become one of Kentucky’s top recruiters in recent years while coaching a position that featured two breakout players in 2023.
Defensive backs coach Chris Collins has become one of Kentucky’s top recruiters in recent years while coaching a position that featured two breakout players in 2023.

The 247Sports recruiting database credits Collins, who came to UK prior to the 2021 season after four years at Georgia State, as one of the lead recruiters for three four-star commitments in the last two recruiting cycles, including four-star linebacker Jaden Smith who flipped from Michigan to Kentucky on Tuesday. Collins has taken the lead on much of UK’s Deep South recruiting efforts since the Wildcats lost ace recruiter Jon Sumrall to the Troy head coaching job after the 2021 season.

Collins’ contract extension raises the buyout Collins would owe UK for leaving for another coaching position from $100,000 per year remaining on his contract to $175,000 per year.

Collins is the fourth UK assistant coach to receive a contract extension this offseason. Linebackers coach Mike Stoops, safeties coach Frank Buffano and offensive line coach Zach Yenser, who were all working on contracts set to expire in June, signed extensions in December, but Yenser was later fired when former UK and Alabama offensive line coach Eric Wolford became available after Alabama coach Nick Saban’s retirement.

The raise increases UK’s total assistant coach salary pool to $7.415 million for the 2024 season. That number does not include the severance payments still owed to Yenser and former offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello through June 2025. Scangarello has reportedly landed a new job as quarterbacks coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, which would decrease the amount UK owes him for the next year.

Kentucky football assistant coach salaries

▪ Defensive coordinator Brad White: $1.6 million.

▪ Associate head coach Vince Marrow: $1.3 million.

▪ Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan: $1.25 million.

▪ Linebackers coach Mike Stoops: $675,000.

▪ Special teams coordinator Jay Boulware: $550,000.

▪ Defensive line coach Anwar Stewart: $500,000.

▪ Defensive backs coach Christopher Collins: $475,000.

▪ Safeties coach Frank Buffano: $415,000.

▪ Offensive line coach Eric Wolford: $350,000.

▪ Wide receivers coach Daikiel Shorts: $300,000.

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