The Highest Paid State Employee in the United States? Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach


A perfect example of just how big of a business college football has become is the salaries of head coaches. For example, Nick Saban, the head coach of Alabama, is the highest paid state employee, not just in the state of Alabama, but in the entire United States.

Saban takes home $7.09 million according to the Wall Street Journal, and the trend of the highest paid employee in each state being a CFB head coach isn’t just an Alabama or SEC thing. In 39 of the 50 states, the top paid state employee was a college football coach or college basketball coach. Behind Saban are Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), John Calipari (Kentucky), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).

It’s not that surprising to see Saban making more money than anyone in his field: Since leaving the NFL and returning to the SEC, Saban has helped bring back the Tide to the top of the sport. They’re the winningest program in college football since 2008, and has led them to 4 national titles (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015). Alabama football brings the university $95 million in revenue, almost $47 million in profit, helping justify the big money their head coach make. Things aren’t that different for a lot of other big-name schools, who sometimes surpass the popularity of the state NFL team(s). In Alabama, like in a lot of SEC states, there are no NFL teams, sometimes no pro team at all from the four major leagues.

Top 10 Highest Paid Employees From Each State

  1. Nick Saban, Alabama, Football: $7.09 million
  2. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan, Football: $7 million
  3. John Calipari, Kentucky, Basketball: $6.88 million
  4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State, Football: $5.86 million
  5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, Football: $5.86 million
  6. Charlie Strong, Texas, Football: $5.16 million
  7. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, Football: $5.15 million
  8. Sean Miller, Arizona, Basketball: $4.95 million
  9. Bill Self, Kansas, Basketball: $4.94 million
  10. James Franklin, Penn State, Football: $4.4 million

Top 10 Highest Paid Employees From States With a non-coach as the top earner

  1. Kayvan Khiabani, professor of surgery, University of Nevada Reno, Nevada – $987,638
  2. David Engle, neurosurgeon, Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Hawaii – $786,000
  3. Joshua Wynn, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Science, North Dakota – $674,587
  4. Lewis Pasternak, anesthesiologist and CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital, New York – $673,596
  5. Mary Nettleman, Dean of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, South Dakota – $577,650
  6. Frederick Morin III, Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, Vermont – $559,644
  7. Keith Meyer, president Alaska Gasline Development Corp., Alaska – $550,000
  8. Mark Huddleston, president, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire – $492,800
  9. Clay Christian, Montana’s Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana – $309,207
  10. James Page, chancellor, University of Maine System, Maine – $277,500

It is worth mentioning that the list list isn’t the overall highest-paid public employees in the country, but the highest paid from each state. Alabama assistant coach Lane Kiffin makes $680,000 a season, but he’s not included in the lists as he’s not Alabama’s highest paid state employee.

Further reading: WSJ / Image Source