Shocker: SEC reigns in coaching pay yet again
Every year for the past few years, USA Today has done an exhaustively outstanding job in compiling the salaries of Div. 1-A head coaches, private institutions notwithstanding, and putting them into a database that’s too compelling not to pour over and dissect.
Every year, the dollar amounts attached to the names of coaches whose schools reside in the SEC and are found in that database trump that of every other conference in the country. And, in a stunning turn of events, that’s the case for the umpteenth time in a row again this year.
To put an exclamation point on just how far the salaries in the SEC have spiraled into the financial stratosphere, the 11 coaches in that conference -- Vanderbilt was not included in the database -- will make a combined $34,121,380 in 2011 according to the latest figures published by the paper. The combined total pay of the 47 coaches in Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and WAC? $28,848,050.
The lowest-paid coach in the SEC -- Kentucky’s Joker Phillips at just over $1.7 million -- would be the highest-paid coach in any of those conferences with the exception of the MWC and Conference USA; however, the coach in the former conference -- TCU’s Gary Patterson -- will be taking his $2.018 million salary this year to the Big 12 in 2012, while the latter’s coach -- SMU’s June Jones -- and his $1.727 million are likely heading out to the Big East.
USA Today notes that the average salary in 2011 of all 110 coaches included in the latest database is $1.47 million, up 55 percent from the first year they did the survey in 2006. All told, 64 of those 110 coaches make at least $1 million annually.
A total of $159,701,667 -- which doesn’t include bonuses, incidentally -- will be disbursed to coaches in 2011; that total is more than the gross domestic product of the Falkland Islands and Kiribati, a country of just over 103,000 residents located in the Pacific which, like Les Miles, is noted for its body percussion.
The average total 2011 pay of SEC coaches is just over $3.1 million, a total that’s obviously tops in the country for any conference. Not far behind, relatively speaking, is the Big 12 at $2.506 million, followed by the Big Ten ($1.946 million) and ACC ($1.872 million). Somewhat surprisingly, the Big East ($1.683 million) actually trumps the Pac-12 ($1.594 million); the caveat there is that USC’s Lane Kiffin and his rumored $3-$4 million annual salary, which is not included in this year’s listing, would push the Pac-12 past the Big East.
No coach in the SEC, Big 12 or Big East -- again, based on those included in the 2011 database -- makes less than seven figures, while just one each in the ACC (North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers, $500,000) and the Big Ten (Purdue’s Danny Hope, $925,000) will make less than a million dollars this year. At the other end of the spectrum, just six coaches in the five non-automatic qualifying BcS conferences will make more than a million in 2011 -- Patterson, Jones, Boise State’s Chris Petersen ($1.525 million), UCF’s George O’Leary ($1.392 million), Houston’s Kevin Sumlin ($1.2 million) and Hawaii’s Greg McMackin ($1.15 million).
Interestingly, five of those six coaches, with McMackin being the lone exception, are at schools that will either move or are rumored to be moving to an automatic qualifying conference in the next year or two.
On the individual front, Mack Brown is the highest-paid coach in the game at $5,193,500. His average pay of $432,792 per regular season game is more than the annual salary of 22 Div. 1-A coaches. Arkansas State’s Hugh Freeze is the lowest-paid coach in the country at $202,160 for those who are interested.
Brown and Nick Saban ($4.833 million) will make more than the $4.42 million the 12 coaches in the MAC will make combined this year, while Brown, Saban, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($4.075 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($3.856 million), Iowa Kirk Ferentz ($3.785 million), Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino ($3.638 million) and Auburn’s Gene Chizik ($3.5 million) will all make more than the $3,431,653 the nine Sun Belt coaches will make combined.
And, to keep this topical given the events of the past 10 days or so: just four coaches in AQ conferences -- Hope, Withers, Colorado’s Jon Embree ($725,000) and Washington State’s Paul Wulff ($600,050) -- made less in 2011 than Joe Paterno‘s $1.023 million at Penn State.