What the Top 25 College Football Teams’ Coaches Make

Temple
Photo by Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Dan Thornberg / Shutterstock.com
Dan Thornberg / Shutterstock.com

The college football season is officially over — with Clemson defeating top-ranked Alabama 35-31 in the waning seconds of the College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday night — but that doesn’t mean we’re finished talking about it quite yet.

Let’s take another measure of the top teams, with a look at how the head coaches of the top teams fared. Do their earnings match their teams’ success? Here are the top 25 teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings made after the regular season (not the postseason rankings). All salaries come from this USA Today list unless otherwise noted.

25. Navy

Navy
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Coach Ken Niumatalolo has been at Navy since 2007. He made a cool $2 million for 2016. Navy finished 9-3 in the regular season, then went on to lose 48-45 to Louisiana Tech in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

24. Temple

Temple
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Matt Rhule has been Temple head coach since 2013, starting out as an assistant coach and then moving up to head coach in 2015. His take-home base salary for 2016 was a little more than $1 million. Temple went 10-3 this season, then lost to Wake Forest in the Military Bowl, 34-26.

23. Pittsburgh

Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Pat Narduzzi will cash out with a nice $2 million base salary for 2016, his second year as a head coach there. Pitt went 8-4 for the season, followed by a 31-24 loss to Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

22. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech
Jeff Schultes / Shutterstock.com

It was Justin Fuente’s first year as head coach of the Hokies, and he did pretty well for himself, with a $3.2 million base salary. VA Tech went 9-4 on the year and beat Arkansas 35-24 in the Belk Bowl.

21. Tennessee

Tennessee Volunteers
Jordan3757 / Wikimedia

Butch Jones just finished his fourth year as head coach at Tennessee, where he earned a base salary of $4.1 million. The Volunteers were 8-4 in the regular season and beat Nebraska 38-24 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

20. LSU

LSU
Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com

Les Miles, the coach since 2005 at Louisiana State University, was making a $4.3 million base salary when he was fired four games into the 2016 season. His replacement, Ed Orgeron, signed on for a little less: a reported $3 million to $4 million. LSU went 7-4 on the year before beating Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, 29-9.

19. Utah

Utah
Jeff Schultes / Shutterstock.com

Kyle Whittingham has spent his entire head coaching career at Utah. Ten years ago he was making $672,000; for 2016 he earned a base salary of $3.65 million. Utah went 8-4 on the season before beating Indiana 26-24 in the Foster Farms Bowl.

18. Stanford

Stanford
Jeff Schultes / Shutterstock.com

David Shaw has been coaching at Stanford since he started coaching, first as an assistant and then as head coach, just finishing up his sixth year. He nearly doubled his salary from 2015 to 2016, making more than $4 million this past year. Stanford went 9-3 for 2016, then beat North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, 25-23.

17. Florida

Florida
Jillian Cain Photography / Shutterstock.com

The Gators have had their fair share of coaches. Finishing up his second year, Jim McElwain pulled in a base salary of more than $4.2 million. The team went 8-4 on the 2016 season, then beat Iowa 30-3 in the Outback Bowl.

16. West Virginia

West Virginia
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Dana Holgorsen has been at West Virginia for six years now, and he made nearly $3 million base salary for 2016. The school had a 10-2 record for the regular season, then lost to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, 31-14.

15. Western Michigan

GS Photo/ WMU / Money Talks News
GS Photo/ WMU / Money Talks News

Hats off to P.J. Fleck, who led the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 season in 2016. Unfortunately, post-season wasn’t as good to the team, as Western Michigan lost to Wisconsin, 24-16, in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Fleck earned a little more than $820,000 this past season, far less than coaches of teams that lost a few games.

14. Auburn

Auburn
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com

Gus Malzahn took the Tigers to an 8-4 season before losing to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, 34-19. Malzahn pulled in $4.7 million this past year, his fourth year as head coach for Auburn.

13. Louisville

Louisville
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

After receiving a new seven-year contract with Louisville in 2016, Bobby Petrino took home a nearly $4 million base salary as the head coach of the Cardinals. He led his team to a 9-3 season before falling to LSU, 29-9, in the Citrus Bowl.

12. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Mike Gundy made $3.75 million at Oklahoma State this past season, when the Cowboys went 9-3 in the regular season and beat Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl, 38-8.

11. Florida State

Florida State
Ruth Peterkin / Shutterstock.com

Jimbo Fisher is the fifth-highest-paid NCAA head coach, pulling in $5.25 million for the 2016 season. The Seminoles went 9-3 this past year before beating Michigan, 33-32, in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

10. Colorado

Colorado
TongTracer / Wikimedia

The Buffaloes finished 10-3 in the regular season, before losing 38-8 to Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Head coach Mike MacIntyre got a base salary of more than $2 million this last season.

9. USC

USC
Photo Works / Shutterstock.com

Clay Helton has been at Southern California for a few years, but last year was his first full season as head coach. As a private school, USC is not required to disclose salary information. Some sites report a $3.6 million payout for last year, but it hasn’t been confirmed. USC went 9-3 this past season and went on to beat Penn State, 52-49, in the Rose Bowl.

8. Wisconsin

Wisconsin
john j. klaiber jr / Shutterstock.com

Paul Chryst wrapped his second year as head coach of the Badgers with a 10-3 performance from his team. Wisconsin then won 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl over Western Michigan, and Chryst made $2.7 million for the year.

7. Oklahoma

Oklahoma
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Bob Stoops is the fourth-highest-paid head coach in the country — earning $5.5 million this past season. The Sooners went 10-2 on the year before beating Auburn 35-19 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

6. Michigan

Michigan
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

No NCAA head coach makes more money than Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines’ coach pulled in $9 million during the 2016 season as his team went 10-2 on the year, then followed up with a 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

5. Penn State

Penn State
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

James Franklin is the 10th-highest-paid head coach in college football, making $4.5 million in 2016. The Nittany Lions went 11-2 this season before losing to USC in the Rose Bowl, 52-49.

4. Washington

Washington
Despeaux / Shutterstock.com

With a $3.6 million paycheck for the year, Chris Petersen is the 25th-highest-paid head coach. His team, the Washington Huskies, went 12-1 in the regular season this year before losing to Alabama in the Peach Bowl College Football Playoffs semifinal, 24-7.

3. Ohio State

Ohio State
Aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

As the third-highest-paid head coach in college football, Urban Meyer pulled in $6 million this past year. The Buckeyes went 11-1 in the regular season before losing to Clemson, 31-0, in the Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoffs semifinals.

2. Clemson

Clemson
JASON TENCH / Shutterstock.com

Dabo Swinney, head coach at Clemson since 2008, pulled in more than $4.4 million for 2016 as the Tigers went 12-1 for the regular season, making them one of the best teams in college football. Clemson upset top-ranked Alabama in the National Championship Game, 35-31.

1. Alabama

Alabama

The Crimson Tide went 13-0 in the regular season but lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game, 35-31. Longtime head coach Nick Saban is one of the most successful college football coaches in history, and his salary reflects that. He ends his season with a base salary of nearly $7 million, making him the second-highest-paid college football coach.

What do you think a great college football coach should be paid? How much does a team contribute to the school? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon

They say you get what you pay for — but not always. Sometimes, you can uncover a good deal at a great price.

5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

5 Reasons You Should Not Delay Retirement
5 Reasons You Should Not Delay Retirement

Could you be waiting too long to quit working?

8 Things I Always Buy at Costco
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco

From bacon to birthday cakes, here are my favorite deals at the popular warehouse store.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.