The stated purpose of this exercise is to, as best we can, isolate the value of specific position coaching in major college football. And nowhere is that more difficult than special teams.
On the one hand, the guys are responsible for coaching the entire roster. Other than the starting quarterback and a handful of others, every player is (technically) under their purview. They’re primarily responsible for eight different units.
But, at the same time, very few of these guys only coach special teams. Take Texas’s Jeff Banks. College football’s first $1 million special teams coordinator isn’t just a special teams coordinator, he’s also Steve Sarkisian’s assistant head coach, tight ends coach, and his bulldog recruiter.
How much of that $1 million salary applies to special teams specifically? Impossible to say. But for that money, the ‘Horns had better be doggone good in every phase of special teams.
1. Jeff Banks, Texas — $1 million
2. John Papuchis, Florida State — $570,000
3. Mickey Conn, Clemson — $515,000
4. Scott Cochran, Georgia — $550,000
5. Jovan Dewitt, North Carolina — $500,000
6. Greg Knox, Florida — $497,000
7. Ross Els, Michigan State — $475,000
8. Scott Fountain, Arkansas — $450,000+
8. Chris Haerig, Wisconsin — $450,000
8. Pete Lembo, South Carolina — $450,000+
11. LeVar Woods, Iowa — $440,000
12. Erik Link, Missouri — $425,000
12. Greg McMahon, LSU — $425,000
14. Jay Harbaugh, Michigan — $415,000
14. Bobby Williams, Oregon — $415,000
+ – associate/assistant head coach
— If you’re wondering why Texas A&M is scrimping on its special teams, fret not. Jimbo Fisher does not have a dedicated special teams coordinator, but he does employ two dedicated special teams analysts. Other well-paid staffs that don’t employ dedicated STCs: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.
— Listed coaches paid only for coordinating special teams, meaning they’re not an assistant head coach and they don’t have any other positional responsibilities: Cochran, Haerig, Link, McMahon, Williams and Woods.
— We don’t yet know what Coleman Hutzler will earn to coordinate the Ole Miss special teams. He earned $600,000 to coach linebackers at Texas, and at Ole Miss he replaces Blake Gideon… who left for Texas.
— Ditto for Alabama’s Jay Graham. He replaces Banks, who also left for Texas.
— Other STCs whose salaries are not public info: Parker Fleming (Ohio State), Bert Watts (Auburn),
— Geoff Collins has an arrangement at Georgia Tech you don’t see elsewhere. He employs an offensive (Chris Wiesehan) and defensive (Jeff Popovich) special teams coordinator. Wiesehan also coaches tight ends, Popovich cornerbacks. Apparently, punt and kick return are more valuable than punt and kickoff; Wiesehan makes $300,000 while Popovich brings home $230,000.