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It pays to be an FBS athletic director: Analysis of AD salaries

USA Today, in fashion with its excellent coaching salary database, has done it again - this time with a study of FBS athletic directors. Like the coaches they employ, these guys are making good money. USA Today lists nine coaches pulling in more than $1 million a year, and 47 make more than half a million dollars a year. (Eleven ADs, all working at private schools, were not included in this report.)

Vanderbilt's David Williams is the country's highest-paid athletic director, pulling in an astounding $3.2 million (in fairness, Williams wears a lot more hats at Vanderbilt than just working as an athletic director). Louisiana - Monroe's is the lowest paid at $109,923. The median salary stands at $450,000, shared by Mississippi State's Scott Stricklin, Utah's Chris Hill, Kansas' Sheahon Zenger and Connecticut's Warde Manuel.

The Top 10
1. David Williams, Vanderbilt - $3,239,678
2. Tom Jurich, Louisville - $1,432,204
3. Jeremy Foley, Florida - $1,233,250
4. Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin - $1,230,000
5. Shawn Eichorst, Nebraska - $1,123,000
6. DeLoss Dodds, Texas - $1,109,041
7. Gene Smith, Ohio State - $1,099,030
8. Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame - $1,026,942
9. Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma - $1,000,000
10. Kevin White, Duke - $906,536

Here's a conference-by-conference look: 

Highest paid: Kevin White, Duke - $906,536
Lowest paid: Randy Spetman, Florida State - $350,000
Best value: Spetman. How can you argue with running the ACC's flagship program for the lowest price?

Big East
Highest paid: Tom Jurich, Louisville - $1,432,204
Lowest paid: Whit Babcock, Cincinnati - $364,000
Best value: Juirch. Cardinals fans shudder to think where their program would be without hiring Jurich a decade and a half ago.

Highest paid: David Williams, Vanderbilt - $3,239,678
Lowest paid: Ross Bjork, Ole Miss - $400,000
Best value: Mal Moore, Alabama - $600,500. Moore's salary is a small price to pay for a guy who flawlessly understands the demands of his position, get Nick Saban what he wants and get out the way.

Big Ten
Highest paid: Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin - $1,230,000
Lowest paid: David Joyner, Penn State - $396,000
Best value: Mark Hollis, Michigan State - $700,000. Hollis is an outside-the-box thinker that works hard to put his team in the spotlight while winning consistently in both football and basketball.

Big 12
Highest paid: DeLoss Dodds, Texas - $1,109,041
Lowest paid: Sheahon Zenger, Kansas - $450,000
Best value: Ian McCaw, Baylor - $498,226. Baylor spent its first decade in the half getting stepped on in every sport that matters. In what seemed impossible as recently as five years ago, the Bears are now postseason fixtures in football, men's basketball and baseball, not to mention a women's basketball powerhouse.

Highest paid: Dan Guerrero, UCLA - $715,211
Lowest paid: Mike Bohn, Colorado - $310,140
Best value: Rob Mullens, Oregon - $500,000. Mullens perfectly understands his role into turning Oregon into the West Coast's premier athletic program. And he's the second-lowest paid AD in the Pac-12 North.

Mountain West
Highest paid: Paul Krebs, New Mexico - $414,391
Lowest paid: Hans Mueh, Air Force - $165,300
Best value: Gene Bleymaier, San Jose State - $313,092. Bleymaier's work at Boise State was truly priceless, and now he's on his second act at San Jose State.

Conference USA
Highest paid: Pete Garcia, Florida International - $441,832
Lowest paid: Jeff Hammond, Southern Miss - $200,000
Best value: Bruce Van De Velde, Louisiana Tech - $241,000. The Bulldogs are consistent winners in football, ranked in basketball and will finally play in their perfect conference beginning this fall. 

Highest paid: Bill Scholl, Ball State - $250,000
Lowest paid: Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan - $179,858
Best value: Jim Schaus, Ohio - $247,000. The Bobcats have enjoyed four winning seasons in Schaus' five years at the helm. On the hardwood, the Bobcats have won NCAA Tournament games in two of the last three years, pushing North Carolina to overtime in last year's Sweet Sixteen.

Sun Belt
Highest paid: Larry Teis, Texas State - $225,000
Lowest paid: Bobby Staub, ULM - $109,923
Best value: Terry Mohajir, Arkansas State - $190,000. Truth be told, this was a dead heat between Mohajir and Western Kentucky's Todd Stewart. Each athletic director's head coaching hire this offseason (Bobby Petrino at WKU and Bryan Harsin at Arkansas State) will likely determine which school rules the league for the foreseeable future.