And for once, I ain’t mad. ‘Cause, if true, this is starting to border on crazy:
According to AL.com, Cochran, who has been at Alabama since 2007, received a contract extension this year through 2017 that raised his salary to $420,000 per year. He almost certainly isn’t staying at Alabama solely out of loyalty, so it’s reasonable to assume he will again see his salary increased once again.
Let’s say Cochran gets bumped up to $500,000 — and it could very well be more — that’s essentially what Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz made this year after winning a Sun Belt championship in 2014. It would also put Cochran on par with some of the highest-paid head coaches in the Mid-American Conference, ahead of what Matt Campbell made this year at Toledo ($495,000), Dino Babers made at Bowling Green ($413,000) and Rod Carey made at Northern Illinois ($400,000).
The second-highest paid coach in the MAC is Ohio’s Frank Solich at $562,760 — all numbers from the USA TODAY Sports database — and it wouldn’t be surprising if Cochran’s salary was higher than that.
Strength coaches aren’t part of the nine full-time, on-field assistants and thus not subject to a number of NCAA contact rules. That also makes them incredibly important because they are allowed to organize and monitor off-season workouts and training sessions. They essentially run the program for a good portion of the spring and summer. There is a reason Alabama’s Derrick Henry mentioned Cochran so prominently in his Heisman Trophy speech Saturday.
Still, $500,000 and up for a strength coach? How soon until these guys all have agents and make $1 million in the SEC? This is new territory in college sports and illustrates the growing financial divide between the Power Five and the Group of Five.
And how soon until Jimmy Sexton argues that if you pay a strength coach half a mil, you’ve gotta be prepared to pay a coordinator four times that?