It’s been more than two decades since Florida State’s Bobby Bowden became the first “million-dollar coach” in college football.
We’ll undoubtedly reach the $10 million mark within the next few years (Texas reportedly tried to make it happen a few years back), and smart money is on the SEC to break that barrier.
The Southeastern Conference pays better than any other, and we’re here to break down the top 35 coaching salaries going into the 2016 season.
NOTE: We measured only the guaranteed money paid by schools, and have included clarifications where applicable.
CORRECTION: The original post did not include Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. The story has been updated, and now features 36 coaches.
34t. DeMontie Cross, Missouri defensive coordinator ($600,000)
34t. Ed Orgeron, LSU defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator ($600,000)
34t. Rhett Lashlee, Auburn offensive coordinator ($600,000)
32t. Sam Pittman, Georgia offensive line coach ($650,000)
32t. Eddie Gran, Kentucky offensive coordinator ($650,000)
29t. Kurt Roper, South Carolina offensive coordinator ($700,000)
29t. Josh Heupel, Missouri offensive coordinator ($700,000)
29t. Dan Enos, Arkansas offensive coordinator ($700,000)
28. Lane Kiffin, Alabama offensive coordinator ($714,000)
26t. Geoff Collins, Florida defensive coordinator ($725,000)
*Collins was due to receive a $125,000 retention bonus in February, so we counted that toward his total.
26t. Dave Wommack, Mississippi defensive coordinator ($725,000)
25. Travaris Robinson, South Carolina defensive coordinator ($750,000)
24. Robb Smith, Arkansas defensive coordinator ($800,000)
22t. Jim Chaney, Georgia offensive coordinator ($85o,ooo)
22t. Mel Tucker, Georgia defensive coordinator ($850,000)
21. Noel Mazzone, Texas A&M offensive coordinator ($965,000)
*Mazzone received a $165,000 signing bonus this year, which we counted toward his total.
20. Kevin Steele, Auburn defensive coordinator ($1.1 million)
19. Bob Shoop, Tennessee defensive coordinator ($1.15 million)
17t. Dave Aranda, LSU defensive coordinator ($1.2 million)
17t. Cam Cameron, LSU offensive coordinator ($1.2 million)
16. Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama defensive coordinator ($1.3 million)
*This is based on Pruitt’s 2015 salary: $1.3 million as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. Alabama has not released official details of Pruitt’s new contract.
15. John Chavis, Texas A&M defensive coordinator ($1.5 million)
14. Barry Odom, Missouri coach ($2.35 million)
13. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt coach ($2.38 million)
*Because Vanderbilt is a private institution, it is not required to publicly release salary information for its employees. Mason’s base salary listed is from the 2014 season, per tax documents.
12. Will Muschamp, South Carolina coach ($3 million)
11. Mark Stoops, Kentucky coach ($3.5 million)
10. Kirby Smart, Georgia coach ($3.75 million)
9. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State coach ($4 million)
*This number is based on Mullen’s 2015 salary. His current deal runs through 2018, and he’s due to receive an average of $4.275 per year from 2015 to 2018, so one might mathematically infer that his 2016 salary is slightly larger than the two coaches immediately ahead of him on this list.
7t. Butch Jones, Tennessee coach ($4.1 million)
7t. Bret Bielema, Arkansas coach ($4.1 million)
6. Jim McElwain, Florida coach ($4.25 million)
5. Les Miles, LSU coach ($4.3 million)
4. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss coach ($4.7 million)
3. Gus Malzahn, Auburn coach ($4.73 million)
2. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M coach ($5 million)
1. Nick Saban, Alabama coach ($6.9 million)
*Saban makes roughly $7.1 million when accounting for “other pay” before performance bonuses, according to USAToday.com.