Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Updated coaches salaries database released, with Dabo Swinney leading the way

You might want to sit down for this: college football head coaches continue to make a spitload of money.

As it does around this time every year, USA Today Tuesday released an updated version of its FBS coaches salaries database. The highest-paid? Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and his $9.32 million in total pay, overtaking Alabama’s Nick Saban, who was tops at $8.3 million in 2018 and now sits at No. 2 at $8.86 million.

At the opposite end of the financial spectrum is Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell, whose $360,000 in total compensation is the lowest salary of those obtained by USA Today. Compensation for coaches at eight universities -- Air Force, Army, BYU, Liberty, Miami, Rice, SMU, Temple -- wasn’t available.

Arguably the most improbable name in the Top 10 in compensation? Jeff Brohm at $6.6 million, ahead of the likes of Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma ($6.4 million), James Franklin of Penn State ($5.6 million) and David Shaw of Stanford ($4.6 million). Brohm, whose wooing by Louisville led to a hefty new contract, is 2-5 this season after going 13-13 his first two seasons with the Boilermakers.

Below are the highest-paid Power Five coaches, per conference:

  • ACC -- Swinney, $9.32 million
  • Big 12 -- Texas’ Tom Herman, $6.75 million
  • Big Ten -- Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, $7.5 million
  • Pac-12 -- Washington’s Chris Petersen, $4.63 million
  • SEC -- Saban, $8.86 million

Conversely, these are the lowest-paid Power Five coaches for each league:

  • ACC -- Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson, $2.19 million
  • Big 12 -- Kansas State’s Chris Klieman, $2.3 million
  • Big Ten -- Indiana’s Tom Allen, $1.8 million
  • Pac-12 -- Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin, $2 million
  • SEC -- Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead, $3 million

At $5 million, USF’s Charlie Strong‘s total compensation is far and away the highest for a Group of Five coaches, with Houston’s Dana Holgorsen‘s $3.7 million the next closest.

Of the other four G5 leagues, North Texas’ Seth Littrell of Conference USA ($1.9 million), Toledo’s Jason Candle of the MAC ($1.2 million), Wyoming’s Craig Bohl of the Mountain West ($2.1 million) and Louisiana’s Billy Napier of the Sun Belt ($875,000) are the highest-paid for their respective conferences.

One final tidbit: The combined salaries of the coaches in the Sun Belt Conference ($6.5 million) is less than the compensation of eight individual head coaches -- Swinney, Saban, Harbaugh, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million), Georgia’s Kirby Smart ($6.9 million), Auburn’s Gus Malzahn ($6.8 million), Herman and Brohm. Swinney and Saban also make more individually than the MAC does combined ($7.8 million).