The top 10 highest paid coaches in college football consist of four in the SEC (Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, Kevin Sumlin, Nick Saban), four in the Big Ten (Kirk Ferentz, James Franklin, Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio) and two in the Big 12 (Bob Stoops, Charlie Strong).
One thing that can be noticed from the full list of coaches salary in the sport is that three of the top four highest paid assistant staffs are in SEC schools: Alabama, LSU and Auburn, giving us a glimpse of why this conference has been so successful in the last decade or so.
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina – $4,016,900
The 69 year-old who has won a national championship back when he was coaching Florida has bonus clauses worth up to $1.7 million. He won’t be seeing a lot of it in 2014 as South Carolina finished 6-6 in the regular season, tied for their worst since Spurrier became the head coach in 2005, following three consecutive finishes in the top 10 with 11-2 seasons. If they lost the bowl game, it’ll be the first losing season under Spurrier.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Hawkeyes – $4,075,000
After 16 seasons in Iowa City, there are more and more calls for Ferentz to end his tenure as the head coach of the Hawkeyes. They’ve lost five or more games in five consecutive seasons, and even winning a bowl game this year won’t take away the feeling of having enough. Ferentz did lead them to four seasons of 10 or more wins, including winning the Big Ten twice, but that was over a decade ago. His biggest achivement of late was winning the Orange Bowl following the 2009 season, the last time Iowa were ranked at the end of a season.
James Franklin, Penn State – $4,300,000
In his first season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin put together a 6-6 campaign, disappointing in the eyes of many. However, with the offensive line he had, it’s not that of a surprise, and it’ll be his recruiting classes and the next two years that determine whether or not hiring him from Vanderbilt was a smart decision. Franklin, 30-21 in four seasons as a head coach, has a max bonus of $1 million.
Les Miles, LSU – $4,369,582
Despite the rumors, Miles isn’t going anywhere, and will coach the Tigers for his 11th season in 2015. Miles won the national championship with LSU in 2007, taking them to the championship game again four years later, losing to Alabama. Despite a 103-28 record in Baton Rouge, losing three games or more in each of the last three seasons has people questioning whether or not it’s time to move on. Miles has a max bonus of $700,000.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State – $4,536,640
Meyer won two national championships with Florida and after taking a season away from the game in 2011 left the SEC to lead the Buckeyes following their sanctions from the Jim Tressel era. The Buckeyes have a 36-3 record under Meyer including a perfect 24-0 in the Big Ten regular season. This year he won the conference for the first time, leading Ohio State to the playoff. He has a max bonus of $550,000.
Charlie Strong, Texas – $5,000,270
Strong just finished his first season in Texas following an easier and more successful time with Louisville. The Longhorns finished 6-6, taking them to the Texas Bowl, doing about as well as expected, although it did include some embarrassing blowouts at home and an offense that struggled with Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback. Strong has a max bonus of $1 million.
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M – $5,006,000
In his first year with Johnny Manziel Sumlin failed to take the Aggies to previous heights, finishing at just 7-5 and 3-5 in the SEC. After two seasons of 20 wins, this puts a lot of pressure on the 50-year old coach to make progress in 2015 and no, winning the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia won’t really impress anyone. Sumlin has a $750,00 max bonus clause.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma – $5,058,333
Stoops has been the head coach at Oklahoma since 1999, finishing with less than 10 wins just four times. The Sooners were only 8-4 this season, their worst since 2009, and not winning the conference title for two years in a row is also something that has never happened under Stoops. He has a 168-43 record in Norman with one national championship and eight Big 12 titles. His max bonus number is $819,500.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State – $5,636,145
Mark Dantonio failed to win the Big Ten this season, but it’s the second straight year the Spartans are going to a New Year’s Bowl game, playing Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Dantonio has brought Michigan State back to the forefront of the conference, winning it twice and peaked so far with finishing #3 in the nation last year following a Rose Bowl victory over Stanford. He has a max bonus of $650,000.
Nick Saban, Alabama – $7,160,187
Since Nick Saban has made his return to the SEC and college football, he has taken Alabama to three national championship games, winning them all, and winning the SEC four times. He has a 86-16 record and 50-11 in the conference. He was very close to leaving the school for Texas last year, but the Crimson Tide made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, which includes a max bonus of $700,000.