For (our) love of the game

The 10 highest-paid public employees in the country are all college head coaches(h/t Walt)

  1. Nick Saban, University of Alabama football coach, Alabama – $7.09 million
  2. Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan football coach, Michigan – $7 million
  3. John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, Kentucky – $6.88 million
  4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State University football coach, Ohio – $5.86 million
  5. Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma football coach, Oklahoma – $5.86 million
  6. Charlie Strong, University of Texas football coach, Texas – $5.16 million
  7. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University football coach, Florida – $5.15 million
  8. Sean Miller, University of Arizona basketball coach, Arizona – $4.95 million
  9. Bill Self, Kansas University basketball coach, Kansas – $4.94 million
  10. James Franklin, Penn State University football coach, Pennsylvania – $4.4 million

My guess is the next ten are, too.  And let’s not forget those selfless assistants, toiling away in relative anonymity.

And a note: The 24/7 Wall Street list isn’t the overall highest-paid public employees in the country – it’s the highest paid from each state. For example, Alabama assistant coach Lane Kiffin was paid $680,000 last year, far above most of those on the non-coaching high-paying list, but since he’s not Alabama’s highest-paid employee, he isn’t included.

Bitch and moan all you like about what that says about government and academic institutional priorities, but the reality is that’s nothing more than a reflection of our priorities.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

16 responses to “For (our) love of the game

  1. 92 grad

    This list is the type of thing that keeps me up at night. CFB has become an ocean of cash with nowhere to go. It’s such a shame that universities can’t pay athletic staff appropriate salaries and then use all that excess for the university operations budget. Or, obviously, compensate the athletes that help earn it.


  2. Derek

    Just keep in mind that we can’t afford to pay teachers because that’s like expensive and stuff. Besides what kinda television ratings do you get for Calculus?


    • Macallanlover

      And how much better does education get with sprinkling a few million dollars over tens of thousands of teachers? Salaries have increased for decades, and the work time required at home had substantially decreased, but has education improved? Not defending the ridiculous salaries of coaches, nor wasteful spending by athletic departments, but there seems to be better ways to spend those dollars to me. And paying tenured educators are way down the list, in my opinion.


      • Derek

        The teachers are striking because they are greedy not because their pay is inadequate.

        Got it.


        • Macallanlover

          They are adequately compensated for the difficulty their job entails. Easy to survive environment, average is enough to survive. Hats off to the minority who work to be excellent, but too many are simply lazy.
          Collectively, they should put more energy in how to do their job better, our education system is abysmal, imo. You can praise the slide all you wish.


  3. DeutschDawg

    Would be interesting to see how high the numbers have climbed currently as this list is from 2016.


  4. JCDAWG83

    Are all of the coaches actual public employees and are their salaries paid with tax dollars? I have always been under the impression that coaches were paid by separate organizations than the actual school. I thought Kirby was paid by the University of Georgia Athletic Association and I assumed most other coaches were paid by similar entities.


    • The base salary as a state employee is paid by the university. Most of everything else is paid by the “501(c)(3)” … aka the UGAAA. Nike and others pitch in money as well.

      Kirby Smart was paid $399,999.96 by the University of Georgia in 2017 according to


  5. Go Dawgs!

    Boy, Michigan is certainly getting their money’s worth out of Jimmy Harbaugh, aren’t they?

    And what in the hell has James Franklin ever done to earn that much money?


  6. Debby Balcer

    Since Bob Stoops did not coach OU last year what year is the data from?