Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne no doubt cringes as he watches the rise of football coaches’ salaries, especially in the Southeastern Conference.

Head coaches’ mega-paydays in the SEC began about 10 years ago.

Now, predictably, coordinators are getting into the act.

Alabama and Georgia both hired defensive coordinators recently at a rate of $750,000 per season. Meanwhile, Tennessee last week hired a defensive coordinator, Boise State’s Justin Wilcox, for a pittance — $650,000 annually.

It should be noted that new Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, before hiring the 33-year-old Wilcox, contacted Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini about the Vols’ position.

Pelini on Monday declined to discuss his talks with Dooley, including whether a formal offer was made.

“We’re on the verge of something great at Nebraska,” Pelini said. “I love working with (Husker head coach) Bo (Pelini). That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

The 44-year-old Pelini is set to make about $375,000 in 2010. But money’s only one issue to consider in this discussion. At some point, Carl Pelini may want a defense, or even a team, to call his own.

They obviously work well as a team. Nebraska in 2009 led the nation in scoring defense and ranked No. 7 in yards allowed.

As for 2010, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carl Pelini assume an increasing amount of responsibility in guiding the defense as Bo focuses more energy on all aspects of the program. Carl Pelini, who doubles as defensive line coach, can put more focus on the big picture as John Papuchis takes on added responsibility coaching the defensive linemen.

Papuchis, by the way, appears to be a rising star in the business, both as a recruiter and on-field coach.

If Nebraska’s defense plays as well in 2010 as many people anticipate, Husker coaches will continue to hear from other programs, and Osborne will have challenging money matters to ponder.

* In case anybody was wondering, Nebraska women’s basketball coach Connie Yori is paid $380,000 annually. Say she gets a bump in the wake of her program’s startling rise. Does that mean Husker volleyball coach John Cook ($292,900) also should get one?

Glad I play the role of athletic director only in the newspaper.

* Never mind the roiling party on Bourbon Street. I can only imagine the mayhem in St. Edward, where the folks are brimming with pride about Scott Shanle, the New Orleans Saints’ veteran linebacker and former Nebraska standout. His younger brother, Andrew, also has a Super Bowl ring from his one season (2008) with the Giants.

Two Super Bowl champions from St. Edward? Someone should write a book.

* Speaking of rising stars, ex-Husker Carl Nicks (2006-07) perhaps has grown up since his days in Lincoln. He’s an absolute bulldozer as the starting left guard for the Saints.

However, in the spring of 2008, Bo Pelini banned Nicks from being around the Nebraska program because Pelini thought Nicks set a bad example with his behavior. Nicks was banned from participating in NU’s pro day in front of NFL scouts, which helps explain why Nicks dropped to the fifth round.

His behavior still has imperfections. In his post-Super Bowl jubilation, Nicks blurted his own R-rated version of the “I’m going to Disneyland!” exaltation.

Somewhere Quentin Tarantino was smiling.

* Always good to hear about former NFL players giving back to the community. Ex-Husker and NFL defensive lineman Steve Warren on Saturday will direct the first session of his Warren Academy, a multi-faceted sports academy in Omaha that he plans to eventually offer statewide.

The academy offers coaching in football, basketball and track and field. But that’s only part of an extensive program that also offers guidance in everything from intelligent nutrition to proper rehabilitation from injuries to consultation about recruiting. Warren’s 20-person staff is impressive.

“Football has given me so much, and I learned so much along the way,” he said. “I’d be kind of selfish to hold it all to myself.”

More information is available at

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 473-7440 or