If you’re building your dream home, how much would you budget for the right contractor? This is the guy that makes sure your house doesn’t blow over at the first gust of a strong early-spring wind, so you’re going to spend what it takes to make sure the job’s done right. If your specific answer to that question is, “North of $500,000,” well, you’re probably a Power 5 head coach.
As part of a new series, FootballScoop is examining the 10 highest-paid position coaches across college football. We’ll start with offensive line coaches, the general contractors of the football world. As you’ll see below, when you’ve got a guy who knows how to make their offensive architect’s pie-in-the-sky dreams work in reality, you’ll pay whatever it takes to make him happy.
1. Sam Pittman, Georgia — $825,000
2. Will Friend, Tennessee — $805,000
3. Bill Bedenbaugh, Oklahoma — $750,000
4. Joe Rudolph, Wisconsin^ — $720,000
5. Greg Frey, Florida State — $675,000
6. Justin Frye, UCLA — $650,000
6. Herb Hand, Texas — $650,000
8. Mike Summers, Louisville — $632,000
9. Jim Turner, Texas A&M — $600,000
9. Eric Wolford, South Carolina — $600,000
^ – Also holds offensive coordinator title
Pittman was the 35th highest-paid assistant in college football in 2018 according to the USA Today salary database. He also makes more than all but six Mountain West coaches — head coaches included — all but five Conference USA coaches, all but two Sun Belt coaches and all but one MAC coaches.
Other notes of interest:
— Two programs I expected to make the list but didn’t: Alabama and Ohio State. Brent Key made $490,000 at Alabama before leaving for a lateral position at Georgia Tech, while Greg Studrawa earned $500,000 at Ohio State. We’ll see how often that trend holds as we move to other positions.
— Florida State has hired Kendal Briles as its new offensive coordinator. Briles has traditionally been a package deal (cycle back to the architect/contractor analogy) with his offensive line coach Randy Clements, who remains at Houston in what industry sources say is a buyout standoff between him and the U of H administration. If and when Clements shakes free of his Houston contract, it will be interesting to see what happens to Frey who is, as evidenced by his No. 4 salary, one of the best in the business.
— Matt Moore received a hefty raise in moving from Troy to West Virginia. Neal Brown’s offensive line coach earned $195,000 at Troy; his salary will jump to $425,000 at WVU, slightly down from the $501,000 Joe Wickline made in 2018.
— Bedenbaugh jumped from eighth to third after Oklahoma announced raises on Jan. 30. He made $625,000 in 2018.
— Brandon Jones got himself a raise in moving from the Power 5 to Group of 5. Jones earned $325,000 at Texas Tech and will make $500,000 at Houston, making him Dana Holgorsen’s highest-paid assistant. Jones will share co-offensive coordinator duties with Marquel Blackwell.
— Dwayne Ledford passed on the opportunity to become App State’s head coach in favor of accepting the offensive coordinator/offensive line position at Louisville. Ledford’s salary has not yet been released but it feels safe to assume it’ll be north of half a million dollars.
Thanks to our friends at USA Today for compiling the coaching salary database, where the bulk of this information comes from.