Skip to main content

Alabama to pay Nick Saban's staff less in 2021 than 2020

Losing Steve Sarkisian may not have been ideal for Alabama's chances at defending its national championship, but it was good for the balance sheet.

Since Sarkisian is now Texas's head coach and no longer college football's highest-paid assistant, Alabama will pay Nick Saban's staff $1 million less in 2021 than it did in 2020.

Alabama regents on Monday approved salaries for Saban's assistants, according to, and losing Sarkisian -- along with Kyle Flood and Jeff Banks, who followed him to Austin -- will represent a total savings of $1.425 million. (Sarkisian, Flood and Banks are all doing quite well for themselves in Austin.)

The Crimson Tide will also pay its new running backs coach (Robert Gillespie) and cornerbacks coach (Jay Valai) less than their predecessors. Charles Huff left his job as Alabama's running backs coach to become Marshall's head coach, and former corners coach Karl Scott is now with the Minnesota Vikings.

Each of the coaches returning from the Tide's 2020 title team earned raises, ranging from $20,000 bumps for defensive line coach Freddie Roach and outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri, to a $275,000 raise for defensive coordinator Pete Golding.

New offensive line coach Doug Marrone will also command a higher salary than Flood, but the raise there was offset by deductions elsewhere. Alabama was set to pay Jay Graham $595,000 to coach special teams and tight ends; Nick Saban has since targeted Drew Svoboda as his replacement.

Here is a full breakdown of Saban's senior staff, compared to what that staff position earned in 2020:


2020 Pay

2021 Pay


Pete Golding (DC/ILBs)

$1.225 million

$1.5 million

$275,000 (22%)

Bill O'Brien (OC/QBs)

$2.5 million

$1.1 million

-$1.4 million (-56%)

Charles Kelly (co-DC/S)



$25,000 (3%)

Doug Marrone (OL)



$105,000 (16%)

Freddie Roach (DL)



$20,000 (3%)

Sal Sunseri (OLBs)



$20,000 (3%)

Jay Graham* (STC/TEs)



-$130,000 (-18%)

Holmon Wiggins (WRs)



$100,000 (21%)

Robert Gillespie (RBs)



-$15,000 (-3%)

Jay Valai (CBs)



-$25,000 (-5%)


$8.85 million

$7.825 million

-$1.025 million (-12%)

* Salary finalized before Jay Graham's departure.

Read the full report here.