SEC Conference

College Football Head Coach Salaries: Ranking Highest to Lowest Paid

This article takes a look at how much each head coach in college makes on a yearly basis. We don’t just cover the guys at the top of the list. We go looking for the salaries on all 130 FBS teams.

Unfortunately the private schools don’t have make this information public. Unless it shows up on a tax document or the number gets leaked, we won’t know the exact numbers. I was able to find some creditable sources for some of the private coaches, but not all of them.

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All those I wasn’t able to find anything for, were thrown to the bottom of the list without a salary. They are not included in the conference averages.

Some contracts include incentives and bonuses beyond a base salary. If that compensation was not performance based (e.g. coach receives a bonus for making a bowl game), we have included it in their compensation for the season. This gets us closest to the number the school is actually paying their coach. I’d also note that some of these numbers are the average compensation per year as only the total contract was disclosed.

NCAA Football Head Coach Salary Breakdown

Dabo Swinney is now the highest paid coach in the country. He’ll earn around the same on average as Saban over the next several years of their contracts, but he received additional pay this year due to a contract extension that included some additional incentives.

It’s hard to argue against Swinney and Saban being the highest paid coaches. Clemson and Alabama have dominated the college football scene over the last decade.  Since 2009, either Alabama or Clemson have won the NCAA Championship game in all but two seasons, and they’ve matched up against each other three times. Swinney is 2-1 in those head-to-head matchups against Saban, so it isn’t shocking to see Clemson reward him with the biggest contract in college football history.

Ranking College Football Head Coaching Salaries for 2019 Season

Coach School Conference Est. 2019 Compensation
Dabo Swinney Clemson ACC $10,250,000
Nick Saban Alabama SEC $8,700,000
Jim Harbaugh Michigan Big Ten $7,504,000
Jimbo Fisher Texas A&M SEC $7,500,000
Gus Malzahn Auburn SEC $6,705,656
Kirby Smart Georgia SEC $6,603,600
Dan Mullen Florida SEC $6,070,000
Tom Herman Texas Big 12 $5,500,000
Scott Frost Nebraska Big Ten $5,000,000
Mike Gundy Oklahoma State Big 12 $5,000,000
Willie Taggart Florida State ACC $5,000,000
Lovie Smith Illinois Big Ten $5,000,000
Gary Patterson Texas Christian Big 12 $4,840,717
James Franklin Penn State Big Ten $4,800,000
Lincoln Riley Oklahoma Big 12 $4,800,000
Kirk Ferentz Iowa Big Ten $4,700,000
Ryan Day Ohio State Big Ten $4,500,000
Mark Dantonio Michigan State Big Ten $4,390,417
Chris Petersen Washington Pac-12 $4,377,500
David Shaw Stanford Pac-12 $4,311,543
Will Muschamp South Carolina SEC $4,200,000
Mark Stoops Kentucky SEC $4,013,600
Justin Fuente Virginia Tech ACC $4,000,000
Jeremy Pruitt Tennessee SEC $3,846,000
Jeff Brohm Purdue Big Ten $3,800,000
Kyle Whittingham Utah Pac-12 $3,787,917
Paul Chryst Wisconsin Big Ten $3,750,000
Kliff Kingsbury Texas Tech Big 12 $3,703,975
Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern Big Ten $3,619,775
Bronco Mendenhall Virginia ACC $3,550,000
P.J. Fleck Minnesota Big Ten $3,550,000
Chad Morris Arkansas SEC $3,500,000
Ed Orgeron LSU SEC $3,500,000
Matt Campbell Iowa State Big 12 $3,500,000
Mike Leach Washington State Pac-12 $3,500,000
Chris Klieman Kansas State Big 12 $3,500,000
Mack Brown North Carolina ACC $3,500,000
Chip Kelly UCLA Pac-12 $3,300,000
Geoff Collins Georgia Tech ACC $3,300,000
Scott Satterfield Louisville ACC $3,250,000
Neal Brown West Virginia Big 12 $3,125,000
Manny Diaz Miami (Fla.) ACC $3,100,000
Pat Narduzzi Pittsburgh ACC $3,017,718
Dave Doeren North Carolina State ACC $3,000,000
Matt Luke Mississippi SEC $3,000,000
Derek Mason Vanderbilt SEC $2,812,523
Les Miles Kansas Big 12 $2,775,000
Clay Helton USC Pac-12 $2,625,965
Mike Norvell Memphis AAC $2,600,000
Joe Moorhead Mississippi State SEC $2,600,000
David Cutcliffe Duke ACC $2,540,928
Steve Addazio Boston College ACC $2,514,859
Mario Cristobal Oregon Pac-12 $2,500,000
Mike Locksley Maryland Big Ten $2,500,000
Dino Babers Syracuse ACC $2,401,206
Mel Tucker Colorado Pac-12 $2,400,000
Barry Odom Missouri SEC $2,350,000
Chris Ash Rutgers Big Ten $2,200,000
Ken Niumatalolo Navy AAC $2,163,000
Brian Kelly Notre Dame Ind. $2,129,638
Luke Fickell Cincinnati AAC $2,000,000
Kevin Sumlin Arizona Pac-12 $2,000,000
Herm Edwards Arizona State Pac-12 $2,000,000
Rod Carey Temple AAC $2,000,000
Sonny Dykes Southern Methodist AAC $2,000,000
Jonathan Smith Oregon State Pac-12 $1,900,008
Dave Clawson Wake Forest ACC $1,831,580
Tom Allen Indiana Big Ten $1,830,000
Mike Bobo Colorado State Mt. West $1,800,000
Major Applewhite Houston AAC $1,750,000
Josh Heupel Central Florida AAC $1,700,000
Bryan Harsin Boise State Mt. West $1,650,010
Willie Fritz Tulane AAC $1,629,000
Jeff Tedford Fresno State Mt. West $1,550,000
Philip Montgomery Tulsa AAC $1,518,177
Justin Wilcox California Pac-12 $1,500,000
Hugh Freeze Liberty Ind. $1,500,000
Seth Littrell North Texas C-USA $1,425,000
Craig Bohl Wyoming Mt. West $1,412,000
Mike Houston East Carolina AAC $1,300,000
Jason Candle Toledo MAC $1,125,000
Frank Wilson Texas-San Antonio C-USA $1,100,000
Randy Edsall Connecticut AAC $1,100,000
Lane Kiffin Florida Atlantic C-USA $1,000,000
Charlie Strong South Florida AAC $1,000,000
Matt Rhule Baylor Big 12 $1,000,000
Mike Bloomgren Rice C-USA $1,000,000
Butch Davis Florida International C-USA $945,000
Bill Clark UAB C-USA $900,000
Rocky Long San Diego State Mt. West $873,576
Billy Napier Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt $850,000
Blake Anderson Arkansas State Sun Belt $825,000
Bob Davie New Mexico Mt. West $823,740
Rick Stockstill Middle Tennessee C-USA $803,004
Tim Lester Western Michigan MAC $800,000
Tyson Helton Western Kentucky C-USA $800,000
Jake Spavital Texas State Sun Belt $800,000
Doc Holliday Marshall C-USA $762,570
Eliah Drinkwitz Appalachian State Sun Belt $750,000
Skip Holtz Louisiana Tech C-USA $700,000
Dana Dimel Texas-El Paso C-USA $700,000
Will Healy Charlotte C-USA $700,000
Bobby Wilder Old Dominion C-USA $654,667
Chad Lunsford Georgia Southern Sun Belt $650,000
Jim McElwain Central Michigan MAC $640,900
Walt Bell Massachusetts Ind. $625,000
Steve Campbell South Alabama Sun Belt $600,000
Tony Sanchez UNLV Mt. West $600,000
Brent Brennan San Jose State Mt. West $590,424
Frank Solich Ohio MAC $580,331
Shawn Elliott Georgia State Sun Belt $569,000
Chuck Martin Miami (Ohio) MAC $524,826
Jay Hopson Southern Mississippi C-USA $500,000
Jay Norvell Nevada Mt. West $500,000
Thomas Hammock Northern Illinois MAC $500,000
Scot Loeffler Bowling Green MAC $500,000
Tom Arth Akron MAC $500,000
Nick Rolovich Hawaii Mt. West $486,504
Chris Creighton Eastern Michigan MAC $460,000
Lance Leipold Buffalo MAC $455,500
Sean Lewis Kent State MAC $440,000
Mike Neu Ball State MAC $435,689
Doug Martin New Mexico State Ind. $419,640
Matt Viator Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt $390,000
Jamey Chadwell Coastal Carolina Sun Belt $350,000
Gary Anderson Utah State Mt. West
Chip Lindsey Troy Sun Belt
Troy Calhoun Air Force Mt. West
Kalani Sitake Brigham Young Ind.
Jeff Monken Army Ind.

Average Salary by Conference

Coaches in the SEC are the most well-compensated in the nation, but the other major conferences are not that far behind, especially when you consider the SEC average is inflated with Saban and Swinney earning over $1 million more than the third-highest paid coach.

Conference Average Salary
SEC $4,671,527.07
Big Ten $4,082,585.14
Big 12 $4,018,144.56
ACC $3,698,557.43
Pac-12 $2,890,119.42
AAC $1,656,267.70
Mt. West $1,016,932.18
Ind. $999,139.75
C-USA $840,083.92
Sun Belt $650,650.00
MAC $579,961.17

Check out coaches in other sports:

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