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USA Today's annual coaching salary database is now out

It's a day that we look forward to annually as a FootballScoop staff - the day that USA Today puts their hard work on the FBS Head Coaches Salary Database out there for all to see.

This year they shared the top 17 highest paid head coaches in a picture gallery style article first, with the full release of all publicly available head coaching salaries also available here.

The top 10 highest compensated coaches and their latest salary information are:





Nick Saban

$9.3 million


Ed Orgeron

$8.918 million


Dabo Swinney

$8.319 million


Jim Harbaugh

$8.036 million

Texas A&M

Jimbo Fisher

$7.5 million


Kirby Smart

$6.933 million


Gus Malzahn

$6.927 million

Penn State

James Franklin

$6.7 million


Lincoln Riley

$6.202 million


Gary Patterson

$6.130 million

One school and coach that normally doesn't appear on the annual rundown, but made an appearance this year based on the most recent tax returns from 2018 is Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald. Fitz is the #14 highest paid head coach in college football based on that tax return info at $5.218 million annually.

Other interesting nuggets from the data:

  • A total of 16 head coaches are making $5 million or more this year
  • Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester is giving up $200k of his compensation - which amounts to $25 of his scheduled total compensation due to the COVID-19 pandemic cuts in Kalamazoo
  • Dabo is taking the biggest voluntary COVID pay cut at $1.25 million
  • 45 schools shared with USA Topday that their football coaches have not taken COVID-related pay cuts and that list includes Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron
  • Mack Brown received a one-month contract extension as a consideration for a 20% cut of his base $750k salary
  • At least 15 coaches have buyout of $20 million if fired without cause this season. 18 coaches would be due $10 million if fired without cause.

Head here to see USA Today's full list.