May 14, 2020
BY Joey Pisciotti

These Are The Highest-Paid College Football Coaches

College football brings the highs, the lows, the excitement, the passion, the tears and everything in between. However, the biggest thing it brings in is straight-cash homie.

With the college players not receiving money for their play, the NCAA rakes in a ton of profits. A large portion of this money gets funneled into the pockets of the greatest coaches in the country. Coaches such as Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Alabama's Nick Saban and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh make the list, of course, but there are some pretty surprising names in the top 10. 

Some college football head coaches receive an eye-boggling salary. Let’s be honest: is there really a better job in the world than coaching at the collegiate level? Let’s take a look at the highest-paid college football coaches in the country, per USA Today

10. Dan Mullen, Florida: $6.07 Million

Mullen might have two BCS National Championships on his resume, but those titles didn't come as a head coach. These championships did come when he was a member of the University of Florida coaching staff. As the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach of the Gators, Mullen was a big piece of the puzzle in Gainesville from 2006 to 2008.

Following his success at Florida, Mullen took over as coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2009. Mullen had his fair share of success for the Bulldogs as he took home the SEC Coach of the Year Award and the George Munger Award in 2014.

Mullen's returned home to Gainesville again as the head coach of the Gators. Mullen received a pretty penny to come back to coach Florida. He's set to receive $6.07 million per year as head coach of the Gators. With a career record of 79-49, Mullen has a lot to prove as he is set in as the 10th highest-paid coach in the country. 

9. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: $6.38 million

An absolute offensive genius. Lincoln Riley has quickly risen to the top of the coaching totem pole since he took over as the Sooners coach in 2017.

Riley began his career with Oklahoma as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 2015 and just two years later, he landed the big job. Riley has now been a part of an outstanding set of quarterbacks in his short tenure at Oklahoma. He's molded Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. That's not too bad. All three of these quarterbacks have been drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, Riley is winless in three college football playoff appearances, but he is still a very young coach at 36. 

Riley is the ninth highest-paid coach in the league with a 2019 total pay of $6.38 million.

8. Jeff Brohm, Purdue: $6.6 Million

Brohm has seen it all throughout his playing and coaching career. Brohm played for seven different professional teams in seven years. He then was a part of four different college coaching staffs before he finally found his first head coaching gig.

Brohm started his career as a head coach in 2014 with Western Kentucky. Just three years later, the former quarterback made the leap to lead the Purdue Boilermakers. Brohm has had some success there, but the tough conference has not been overly welcoming to him.

With a  record of 47-31 at the collegiate level and a 13-13 record at Purdue, it almost feels like Brohm is robbing Purdue with this contract. Brohm is the eighth highest-paid college football coach with a 2019 salary of $6.6 million.

7. Tom Herman, Texas: $6.75 Million

The Texas Longhorns have already begun to see an instant turn around back to the powerhouse program they used to be under coach Herman.

Herman landed his first head coaching gig at Houston where his squad won the American Athletic Conference in his lone season there. That was enough for the Longhorns to jump all over Herman and offer him a contract he could not refuse.

With a 47-19 coaching record, Herman rode the bull to the bank to the tune of $6.75 million last season. 

6. Gus Malzahn, Auburn: $6.83 Million

Tiger fans, get used to that visor and vest because head coach Gus Malzahn isn't going anywhere. In 2018, Malzahn signed a seven-year, $49 million extension that began with a pay raise to $6.7 million that year.

Malzahn will see additional pay bumps of $100,000 each year during this contract. That means in the final year of his deal, Gus will see $7.3 million in 2024.

Malzahn's Tigers will have to produce better results if he wants to keep getting that massive paycheck.

Malzahn’s 2019 pay of $6.83 million has ranked him as the sixth highest-paid coach in the NCAA.

5. Kirby Smart, Georgia: $6.87 Million

It sure pays to be a coach in the SEC. Kirby has seen great success in one of the hardest conferences in the league during his tenure at Georgia.

As the Bulldogs coach, Smart has a record of 32-10. His contract does have some winning incentives. He earns a $100,000 if Georgia wins the SEC East and $225,000 if the Bulldogs win the SEC Championship game. He can only earn the higher of the two bonuses in the same season if both should occur.

Smart’s pockets grew a little bit fatter in each of the last three seasons as they won their division three straight years. Seems like that incentive is paying off. Smart earned a total of $6.87 million, making him the fifth highest-paid coach.

4. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: $7.5 Million

When Fisher hit the market, Texas A&M made sure to get their guy. At the time of his signing, Fisher's deal was the most lucrative coaching contract in college football history. This pact guaranteed Fisher $75 million over 10 seasons as the Aggies coach. 

Fisher’s contract also includes a plethora of incentives — including $100,00 if the Aggies win the SEC West, $200,000 for winning the SEC, $100,000 if they make a bowl game, $200,000 for a New Year’s Six bowl game, $300,000 for a College Football Playoff semifinal appearance, $500,000 for making it to the championship and $1,000,000 for winning the national title. Wow. No wonder Fisher gets so angry on the sidelines.

To sweeten the pot even more, Fisher can also earn $50,000 for winning SEC Coach of the year and $100,000 for National Coach of the Year. 

Fisher's total pay of 2019 puts him at the fourth highest-paid coach in the nation at $7.5 million.

3. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: $7.504 Million

The khakis and headset have to be one of the most reliable looks in the league. The coach’s gameday attire has become a joke around the campus, sure, but those khaki pants don't come cheap. 

Harbaugh's Wolverines haven't even won a Big Ten Championship, but the former 49ers coach is already locked in as the third-highest paid coach in the NCAA at $7.504 million.

2. Nick Saban, Alabama: $8.86 Million

Roll Tide! Heading into his 14th season in Tuscaloosa, Saban is in for another major payday. His salary increases by $400,000 this year, as part of his deal that extends through the end of the 2025 campaign.

If there is one thing Saban knows how to do, it's win.  He is the winningest coach in the league since 2009, with 138 victories.

This tide won't stop rolling anytime soon, either, as recruits keep lining up to play for Saban. Since 2009, he has had more top-ranked recruiting classes than any other coach.

Saban is highly deserving of being the second-highest-paid coach with a total pay of $8.86 million

1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson: $9.3 Million

Remember that Jimbo Fisher record we mentioned before? Kiss that goodbye. Swinney’s recent contract extension has the electric coach set to receive $93 million over the next 10 years. Now we know why Swiney is always dancing in the locker room. But he's really dancing because Clemson is always winning.

Swinney has led the Clemson Tigers to two National Championships in the last four seasons. Swinney seems to have an eye for star quarterbacks as he has had success with Deshaun Watson and now Trevor Lawrence.

Swinney’s vibrant personality and superb coaching abilities have landed him as the highest-paid college football coach in 2019, with a total pay of $9.3 million.

Photo: Getty Images