Salaries For NCAA Football Coach

College football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. With so much money at stake, it’s no surprise that salaries for NCAA football coaches have risen dramatically over the past few decades. While some coaches are paid millions of dollars a year, others struggle to make ends meet. Let us know about the ‘Salaries For NCAA Football Coach’.

Salaries For NCAA Football Coach

This article will explore the current landscape of NCAA football coach salaries, the factors that influence how much coaches are paid, and the controversies surrounding these salaries. By the end, readers will have a better understanding of why this is such a hotly debated topic, and what the future might hold for NCAA football coaching salaries.

At present, the average salary for NCAA football coaches is more than $2 million per year. However, this figure varies widely depending on the coach’s experience, performance, and the size and success of the program they lead. Some coaches, particularly those at the most successful programs, can earn upwards of $11 million per year, while others may earn less than $500,000. Despite the variability in salaries, the upward trend of coaching salaries in NCAA football has been consistent over the past few decades, with many coaches earning significantly more than their predecessors did in the past.

Famous Coaches

Several NCAA football coaches are among the highest-paid coaches in the sport. Some examples of the highest-paid coaches in the NCAA at present are:

  • Nick Saban: head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, who is currently the highest-paid coach in college football, earning a reported $11.7 million per year.
  • Dabo Swinney: head coach of the Clemson Tigers, who are the second-highest-paid coach in college football, earning a reported $10.5 million per year.
  • Ed Orgeron: head coach of the LSU Tigers, who earned a reported $8.9 million in 2019, but his salary was reduced to $5 million in 2020 due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Jim Harbaugh: head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, who are currently earning a reported more than $7 million for one year.
  • Jimbo Fisher: head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies, who are currently earning a reported $9,150,000 per year.

These coaches represent some of the most successful careers in college football and have been able to negotiate high salaries due to their records of success on the field.

How NCAA Football Coaching Salaries have changed over time?

NCAA football coaching salaries have risen dramatically over the past few decades. In the 1970s, it was not uncommon for coaches to earn less than $20,000 per year. However, as the popularity and profitability of college football grew, so did coaching salaries.

In the 1980s, some coaches began to earn six-figure salaries, and by the 1990s, some coaches were earning more than $1 million per year. However, it wasn’t until the 2000s that coaching salaries began to skyrocket. The growth of television revenue and the development of new revenue streams, such as licensing and merchandising deals, allowed universities to pay coaches more and more.

As the salaries of the most successful coaches began to approach $5 million or more per year, the pressure to keep up with other programs and retain top talent led to further increases in salaries. Some coaches have even been able to negotiate contracts with incentives that allow them to earn even more money if they win conference championships, bowl games, or national championships.

It’s worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic did have an impact on NCAA football coaching salaries in 2020, with some coaches agreeing to salary reductions or delayed payments to help their universities weather the financial impact of the pandemic. Nonetheless, coaching salaries in college football are still among the highest in the sport, and the upward trend in salaries is likely to continue in the years to come.

Factors That Influence NCAA Football Coaching Salaries

  • Program Success: Coaches of successful programs are generally paid more than coaches of less successful programs. Winning conference championships, bowl games, and national championships can all lead to salary increases.
  • Experience: Coaches with more experience, particularly those with a record of success, are often able to command higher salaries. This is particularly true for coaches who have won national championships or achieved other significant milestones in their careers.
  • Market Demand: The supply and demand for coaching talent can also play a role in determining salaries. If a university is seeking a high-profile coach and there are few available candidates, the university may have to pay more to attract the right person.

Controversies Surrounding NCAA Football Coaching Salaries

  • Disproportionate Salaries: Some argue that coaching salaries are disproportionate to the salaries of other university employees, including faculty and staff members. This can lead to resentment and frustration among those who feel that coaches are overpaid relative to their contributions to the university.
  • Commercialization of College Sports: The increasing salaries of NCAA football coaches are often seen as a symptom of the commercialization of college sports. Critics argue that college sports have become too focused on generating revenue and that this focus has led to a variety of negative consequences, including the exploitation of student-athletes.

Counterarguments to the criticisms of NCAA football coaching salaries include:

  • Market Value: NCAA football coaches are paid what they are worth based on market demand. Successful programs generate significant revenue, and coaches who can achieve success can help to generate even more revenue. In this sense, coaching salaries are not disproportionate to what coaches bring to the university, but rather a reflection of their market value.
  • Fair Compensation: NCAA football coaches work long hours and are responsible for managing large programs with many moving parts. They also have to deal with intense pressure to succeed, both from their universities and from fans. Given the demands of the job, it can be argued that coaches are being fairly compensated for their efforts.
  • Economic Benefits: Successful NCAA football programs can generate significant economic benefits for their universities, including increased enrolment and donations. In this sense, coaching salaries can be seen as an investment in the university’s future, rather than a drain on its resources.


Salaries for NCAA football coach have become increasingly high over the years, with some of the highest-paid coaches earning multi-million dollar salaries. While there are certainly valid criticisms of these high salaries, there are also counterarguments that suggest that coaches are being fairly compensated for their efforts and the economic benefits they bring to the university.

Ultimately, the debate around coaching salaries in college sports is likely to continue, and finding a balance between investing in athletics and prioritizing other important university programs will be an ongoing challenge for universities. As the world of college sports continues to evolve, it will be important to continue to monitor the issue of coaching salaries and their impact on universities, coaches, and student-athletes.

Salaries For NCAA Football Coach

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