Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher and other household names make well over $5 million per year to coach football. Several NFL head coaches are reportedly pushing up close to the $10 million range.
Truth be told, as the “CEO” of their major corporation, the economic impact of a winning or losing season is significant and the people who decide to pay these coaches these sums understand what is at risk. Does it make sense to pay a man $5 million a year, if the difference he makes in the organization nets the organization $50 million in return? Of course.
This is where we are in Power 5 college football these days. Head coaches get paid. When successful, the contracts (one can clearly argue) make sense in terms of economic return. When they go wrong though, oh they go wrong.
Of recent note, Texas A&M fully guaranteed Jimbo Fisher $75 million over ten years in order to entice him to leave Florida State. Did they need to make it fully guaranteed? We don’t know the answer to that; but they did, and that has drawn the scorn of many a person across the land, and likely all radio hosts who always need something to discuss.
So, today, “Mark & Rich” had San Diego State head coach Rocky Long on the show and asked Long his thoughts on Fisher’s fully guaranteed $75 million contract. Long, who makes right around $1 million had some strong words to offer on the subject.
SDSU’s Rocky Long on Jimbo Fisher’s $75M contract: “He doesn't make 1 tackle, doesn't catch 1 pass, he doesn't score 1 TD. We’re not only in this to have a salary, we're in this to develop young men so (coaching salaries are) embarrassing at times” via Mark & Rich Show XTRA 1360
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 11, 2017
The optics aren’t great. However, the laws of supply & demand are valid. If athletic directors believe the “right” coach could make a difference of say $50 million annual impact to the bottom line, athletic directors (& NFL owners) are going to continue to chase the best possible coach, often regardless of the cost.
With all that said, even coaches at the Group of 5 level often benefit from extraordinary effort from their players…
San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny named first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated. That gives coach Rocky Long a $10,000 bonus and each assistant coach and the strength coach a bonus equal to 1% of base salary
— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) December 8, 2017
Coaches talking about other coaches salaries is often a dicey subject.