There are at least 31 head coaches in the BCS ranks that will earn more than $1.8 million this season, according to a salary study conducted by USA Today.
Of the nation's 31 highest-paid head college football coaches in America, only nine are currently coaching teams in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll. That leaves 22 of the nation's 31 highest-paid coaches outside the AP Top 25.
Of those 22 coaches, five have a losing record this season -- Florida State's Bobby Bowden (4-5), Wake Forest's Jim Grobe (4-6), Virginia's Al Groh (3-6), Washington's Steve Sarkisan (3-6) and Maryland's Ralph Friedgen (2-7) -- and another is at .500 -- Michigan State's Mark Dantonio (5-5).
Four of the 22 coaches are in the cellar in their respective conferences -- Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Kansas' Mark Mangino (each tied for last in the Big 12 North), Michigan's Rich Rodriguez (tied for last in the Big 10) and Friedgen (tied for last in the ACC Atlantic).
While those coaches are the biggest financial busts in 2009, not surprisingly, most of the best bargains among head coaches this season can be found at non-BCS schools.
TCU's Gary Patterson is the highest paid non-BCS coach at $1.8 million this season, but overall he ranks only 32nd nationally. His Horned Frogs (9-0) are fourth in this week's AP Poll and closing on their first BCS bowl in school history.
Boise State's Chris Petersen, who already has taken the Broncos to one BCS bowl and are ranked No. 6 this season, makes $1.123 million this season and doesn't even rank as the highest paid coach in the Western Athletic Conference. That honor belongs to Hawaii's Greg McMackin, whose Rainbows are 3-6 this year despite McMackin's $1.138 million salary..
Houston's Kevin Sumlin, whose Cougars are ranked No. 13, ranks as only the sixth-highest paid coach among the 12 Conference USA schools at $750,000.
The best bargain in the BCS is Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, who makes $1.362 million this season. Kelly ranks as only the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big East, but his No. 5 ranked Bearcats are closing in on a second consecutive Big East title.
Panthers are ranked No. 8 by AP.
Other tidbits from USA Today's salary study: five of the nation's 10 highest paid coaches are from the SEC – Florida's Urban Meyer (3rd, $4 million), Alabama's Nick Saban (4th, $3.9 million), LSU's Les Miles (5th, $3.751 million), Georgia's Mark Richt (7th, $3.096 million) and Arkansas' Bobby Petrino (10th, $2.858 million).
As far as the assistant coaching staffs, Tennessee's nine full-time assistants earn a national-best $3.325 million, followed by Texas ($2.948 million), LSU ($2.725 million), Alabama ($2.702 million) and Auburn ($2.56 million).
How about the six million dollar men? There are four schools whose 10 member coaching staffs (head coach and nine full-time assistants) earn more than a combined $6 million. Leading the way is Oklahoma ($6.767 million) followed by Alabama ($6.602 million), LSU ($6.476 million) and Texas ($6.008 million).
But not even nearly $7 million spent this season on coaching salaries can rescue the Sooners, who have lost five starters to season-ending injuries and are currently 5-4 and unranked.
A couple of other interesting numbers: Meyer is the nation's only BCS coach whose annual salary ($4 million) is more than double the total amount his assistants are paid ($1.965 million), while West Virginia's Bill Stewart ($878,000) makes only 40.89 percent what his assistants receive ($2.147 million), the lowest percentage for a BCS head coach.
And just how much have coaching salaries skyrocketed out of control? In 2006, 52 FBS coaches made at least $1 million. Just three years later, 83.8 percent, or 93 of the 111 FBS coaches (nine coaches salaries were not available) made at least $1 million, USA Today reported.
Not much bang for the buck
Of the nation's 31 highest-paid coaches, here are the 22 coaches whose teams are not ranked in this week's AP Top 25 poll. Listed is their overall salary rank and this year's salary. Salary figures in millions of dollars from USA Today.
|Pain for the Buck
||Salary (in millions)|
|2.||Bob Stoops, Oklahoma||$4.303|
|7.||Mark Richt, Georgia||$3.096|
|10.||Bobby Petrino, Arkansas||$2.858|
|11.||Jeff Tedford, Cal||$2.807|
|12.||Mike Leach, Texas Tech||$2.700|
|13.||Gary Pinkel, Missouri||$2.525|
|14.||Rich Rodriguez, Michigan||$2.521|
|15.||Houston Nutt, Ole Miss||$2.509|
|16.||Bobby Bowden, Florida State||$2.319|
|17.||Mark Mangino, Kansas||$2.303|
|19.||Jim Grobe, Wake Forest||$2.172|
|21.||Al Groh, Virginia||$2.072|
|22.||Greg Schiano, Rutgers||$2.072|
|23.||Gene Chizik, Auburn||$2.050|
|24.||Steve Spurrier, South Carolina||$2.031|
|25.||Lane Kiffin, Tennessee||$2.000|
|26.||Ralph Friedgen, Maryland||$1.877|
|27.||Bo Pelini, Nebraska||$1.852|
|28.||Bill Snyder, Kansas State||$1.850|
|29.||Steve Sarkisan, Washington||$1.833|
|30.||Mark Dantonio, Michigan State||$1.811|
|31.||Mike Sherman, Texas A&M||$1.811|