College athletics is an extremely lucrative business. High scoring teams can entice prospective students to apply, and in return, make more money through tuition for the schools. Some schools specialize in basketball, but there’s no argument that football is the top earner across the board.
The schools that treat football like a religion tend to worship their coaches with the reverence of attendants at a revival meeting. But is leading a team to victory in a BCS game worth $5 million? Alabama, Texas and Arkansas seem to think so.
USA Today took a look at the salaries of a number college football coaches. Not surprisingly, the eight of the teams who had coaches in the highest 20 pay bracket were SEC teams. Big 10 and Big 12 were each represented five times and the AAC showed up twice.
The leader of the pack is Nick Saban of Alabama, raking in an easy $5.395 million from the school alone, not counting his $150k in “other pay” and his $700k maximum bonus. Mack Brown of Texas has a base pay of $5.392 million. Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Tennessee’s Butch Jones come in at $5.158 and $4.86 million respectively.
Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz only starts with $3.985 million, but has the largest possible bonus, standing to make an extra $1.75 million. The lowest paid coaches, like Ron English of Eastern Michigan and Dennis Franchione of Texas State, were only getting around $370k. Most of the lower earners were at schools in MAC, the Sun Belt conference or CUSA.