Nick Saban’s new contract returns him to the status of highest-paid head coach in the nation. But have you ever wondered which coaches rake in cash at a similar rate as the mastermind behind Alabama’s success? Some of his peers’ numbers might surprise you.
At 62 years old, on Tuesday, June 3rd, Saban signed an 8-year, $55.2 million deal after the contract was unanimously approved by the school’s Board of Trustees. He’ll be making around $1 million more per year than he did under his previous deal, keeping him committed to the Tide and financially on top of the college football world.
Second on our list is Kevin Sumlin, a man who turned the Texas A&M Aggies from an average Big 12 school into a SEC contender. His offensive schemes and production have forced his superiors to give him a payday. Sumlin’s 6-year contract nets him $30 million over that span.
Texas needed a stellar replacement after long-time head coach Mack Brown resigned in December. The Longhorns hope Charlie Strong can fill that role. After buying Strong out from Lousiville, technically UT is paying $9.375 million for the coach in his first year. Strong’s formal deal is worth $25 million over 5 years plus annual raises of $100,000 and potentially millions in incentives. I guess things really are bigger in Texas.
Oklahoma has been a mainstay in NCAA football for the past 15 years. Coincidentally, Bob Stoops has been in charge of the Sooners’ football program for that time as well. Fans probably don’t appreciate him enough for his consistently exceptional winning percentage (80%), but the University does. In 2011, Oklahoma offered Stoops a 7-year, $34.5 million deal before bonuses. As long as the man keeps on winning he keeps on getting paid, and everyone’s happy.
Urban Meyer temporarily retired from football in 2010, leaving the University of Florida behind due to alleged health concerns. When he decided to return to the sport, he was a wanted commodity. Ohio State was a perfect fit for Meyer and the coach has guided the Buckeyes to 24 wins in just two years. Meyer makes about $4.4 million each season in his 6-year contract, but considering how well his team has performed, his bonuses push him up to the $4.8 mark annually.
Les Miles, also known as The Mad Hatter, runs a program over at LSU that perennially competes and churns out NFL talent. In 2013, the University’s Board of Supervisors approved a deal that pays Miles $4.3 million per year. Some question the coach’s late game clock management, but his paycheck doesn’t reflect the critics’ doubts.
The University of Michigan isn’t afraid of investing a little money into their football program. The Big House, the Wolverines’ legendary stadium, was renovated in 2010 for a price tag of $226 million. Brady Hoke, Michigan’s latest head coach, earns about $4.3 million yearly. The pockets are deep in Ann Arbor. Sadly, it would be a lie to say the same about the roster.
Steve Sarkisian has worked his way up from an offensive assistant at USC to become the school’s head coach. He’s bounced around plenty since then, working with the Oakland Raiders and most recently heading the program at the University of Washington. In late 2013, Sarkisian agreed to a contract that entails a $4.25 million annual salary for his time at USC. Not bad for a 40 year old.
Baylor football has enjoyed its time in the national spotlight lately after Robert Griffin III captured the nation's attention by providing ESPN with weekly highlights of his electric play. Their leader, Art Briles, nets around $4.2 million annually and is signed through the 2023 season. He’ll be nearing 70 years old by then, but as long as his teams put up big numbers, Baylor will pay to remain relevant.
The worst contract in all of college football belongs to Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, but you won’t hear him complaining about it. Ferentz has a 10-year, roughly $39 million contract before bonuses. In the past 9 years, Ferentz has averaged only eight wins a season in the Big Ten. To put that into perspective, Rocky Long of San Diego State has averaged seven wins a season in the same span but makes less than $1 million each season. Without such a hefty financial obligation, some speculate Iowa would have gotten rid of Ferentz by now. Of course, Iowa isn't exactly the easiest place to win and doesn't recruit at the same level of Ohio State or Michigan. 2014 will be a big season for the Hawkeyes.
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