New head football coaches at major-college programs
will be paid an average of about 7% more next season than what their
predecessors made in 2012, a USA TODAY Sports survey finds.
increase in average basic compensation is significantly lower than the
one that occurred among schools with head coaching changes following the
However, the recent round of moves included an
unusually large number of schools hiring head coaches of other schools.
That set of transactions will result in a major rise in another form of
compensation. Nearly any head coach who breaks his contract to accept a
job elsewhere in football is required to compensate the school he
leaves. But the new employer generally agrees to pay that buyout,
creating what is essentially a one-time bonus for the coach it has
hired. In some cases, the amount of that bonus is increased by the new
employer's willingness to also pay the taxes the coach would have owed
on the one-time bonus.
When that money and one signing bonus is
taken into account, new head coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision
schools will be paid an average of around 26% more than what their
predecessors made in 2012. Last year, including buyouts paid on their
behalf, new head coaches at FBS schools were paid about 45% more than
what their predecessors made in 2011.
Counting average basic
compensation only, new head coaches at FBS schools in 2012 were paid
about 35% more than what their predecessors made in 2011.
though some prominent programs will be paying their head coaches much
less in 2013 they did in 2012 - Oregon, for example, will be paying Mark
Helfrich $1.7 million less than it paid Chip Kelly - the average pay
for all FBS football head coaches is likely to keep going up.
figure rose by nearly 12% in 2012 - to $1.64 million - and has
increased more than 70% since 2006, when USA TODAY Sports began tracking
coaches' compensation. In addition to the rise in compensation for
coaches who will be new in 2012, several incumbents have received
contract extensions that include substantial pay increases for next
season. Louisville's Charlie Strong will be getting $1.4 million more
than he did last season, LSU's Les Miles $549,000. Other coaches will be
getting increases for the 2013 season that were written into existing
Meanwhile, academic spending at many schools is either
declining or not increasing at the same pace as athletics spending,
according to a recent report by the Delta Cost Project at the non-profit
American Institutes for Research that was based on data from the
Education Department and data collected by USA TODAY Sports for its
annual College Athletics Finances Database.
Among the 124 Bowl
Subdivision schools, 29 (23.4%) have undergone coaching changes for the
2013 season - the second-most changes by number and by percentage since
1947, the first year for which the NCAA has such figures. Of the 29
changes, 11 involved one school hiring the head coach of another FBS
USA TODAY Sports has been able to document, or confirm
with school officials, the terms of basic compensation, including the
applicable buyout paid on the coach's behalf, for 23 of the 29 schools
Ten of the 23 will be paying their coaches the
same or less next season than in this past season. A majority of those
schools paid buyouts to their previous coaches or are offering greater
incentives to their new coaches or both, but Arkansas State, Northern
Illinois, Texas Tech and Wisconsin not only will be paying their new
coaches the same or less, they also will have net positive revenue
because of the buyout payments they are receiving on behalf of their
Arkansas is making a huge increase over the
amount it paid in 2012 to John L. Smith, who received $850,000 under a
10-month contract after replacing Bobby Petrino, who made more than $3.6
million in 2011. Arkansas will be paying new coach Bret Bielema $3.2
million in basic compensation for the 2013 season.
If Arkansas is
removed from consideration, the average basic pay for new coaches is
about 1% less than what their predecessors made in 2012. However,
Arkansas also agreed to pay Bielema's $1 million buyout to Wisconsin, as
well as the taxes Bielema would have owed on that amount.