The 25 highest-paid coaches in college football

As television revenue increases for conferences and the NCAA, and demand increases for schools to compete for national championships, salaries for the head coaches are skyrocketing.

This year we have a new highest-paid coach in college football as Nick Saban has taken the top spot back from Jim Harbaugh.

Using data collected by USA Today and other sources, here are the highest-paid college football coaches for the 2017 season. You can see the full list at USA Today.

26 PHOTOS
The 25 highest-paid college football coaches
See Gallery
The 25 highest-paid college football coaches

25. Jim Mora — $3.6 million

School: UCLA

Conference: Pac-12

Potential Bonus: $1.1 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Mora is signed though the 2021 season and in his latest extension, he can earn up to $85,000 in bonuses depending on how well his players perform in the classroom and another $50,000 in bonuses depending on how well they perform on the field.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

24. Kyle Whittingham — $3.7 million

School: Utah

Conference: Pac-12 

Potential Bonus: $935,000

Championships (conference/national): 5/0

One thing to know: In 2004, Urban Meyer left Utah for the University of Florida. Whittingham, who was the defensive coordinator under Meyer, had to choose between being promoted to head coach at Utah and accepting the same position at his alma mater, BYU. He stayed at Utah and is now in his 13th season, having led the Utes to ten bowl games and at least nine wins in each of the last three seasons.

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

23. Kirby Smart — $3.8 million

School: Georgia

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.8 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Smart is in his second season as a head coach, having spent the previous eight seasons as the defensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban. Smart is already proving to be a top-level recruiter as the Bulldogs have one of the five best collections of talent, based on recent recruiting rankings.

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

22. Mark Stoops — $3.8 million 

School: Kentucky

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $3.1 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Stoops is part of the Hayden Fry coaching tree, one of the most prolific coaching trees in college football history. Stoops played for Fry at Iowa and later served as a graduate assistant under Fry for his first coaching position.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

21. Bobby Petrino — $3.9 million

School: Louisville

Conference: ACC

Potential Bonus: $1.5 million

Championships (conference/national): 1/0

One thing to know: In 2007, Petrino left Louisville just months after signing a 10-year contract extension, accepting the head coaching job for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to the 2016 season, he signed a new 7-year deal that has him under contract at Louisville through the 2023 season.

(Photo by Chris Humphrey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

20. Butch Jones — $4.1 million

School: Tennessee

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.0 million

Championships (conference/national): 4/0

One thing to know: Despite already being under contract through 2018, the Vols gave Jones an extension at the end of the 2014 season and another $500,000 raise at the end of the 2015 season. His contract runs through 2020, but speculation has been rampant that he could be fired after this season following embarrassing losses to Georgia and Alabama and a close call against UMass.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

19. Chris Petersen — $4.1 million

School: Washington

Conference: Pac-12

Potential Bonus: $1.1 million

Championships (conference/national): 6/0

One thing to know: Washington lured Peterson away from Boise State in 2013 by making him the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12, a distinction he no longer holds. But after taking Washington to the College Football Playoff last season, he was rewarded with a new contract that will pay him at least $34.1 million through the 2023 season.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

18. Mike Gundy — $4.2 million

School: Oklahoma State

Conference: Big 12

Potential Bonus: $900,000

Championships (conference/national): 1/0

One thing to know: Gundy is signed through the 2021 season. However, he does not seem to have the support of the school's biggest booster, T. Boone Pickens. When Pickens was asked if there is rift between him and Gundy, Pickens said, "I don’t know, but Mike doesn’t handle people relationships very well. And he gets mad about things. I’ve heard he’s written some notes about me that weren’t very complimentary."

(Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

17. Bret Bielema — $4.2 million

School: Arkansas

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.0 million

Championships (conference/national): 3/0

One thing to know: Bielema averaged 10 wins per year in seven seasons at Wisconsin. In his first five seasons at Arkansas he has posted at least five losses each year. Despite that, Arkansas gave him an extension prior to the 2015 season that will go through the 2020 season.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

16. Mark Dantonio — $4.4 million

School: Michigan State

Conference: Big Ten

Potential Bonus: $650,000

Championships (conference/national): 3/0

One thing to know: Despite all his success and building an annual championship contender, Dantonio is just the fifth-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

15. Jim McElwain — $4.5 million

School: Florida

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $925,000

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: After turning a three-win Colorado State program into a 10-win team in just three years in his first head-coaching gig, the Gators snatched up McElwain. He is now the fifth-highest-paid coach in the SEC in his second season at Florida.

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

14. Dan Mullen — $4.5 million

School: Mississippi State

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.2 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Mullen is from the Urban Meyer coaching tree, having served under the Ohio State coach at both Utah and Florida. Mullen has taken Mississippi State to seven straight bowl games, however, they finished the 2016 season at 6-7, his first losing record since his first season.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

13. Kirk Ferentz — $4.5 million

School: Iowa

Conference: Big Ten

Potential Bonus: $2.9 million

Championships (conference/national): 2/0

One thing to know: In an era when 72% of college coaches are gone within their first five seasons at a school, Ferentz has now been the head coach at Iowa for 19 seasons and is the longest-tenured coach in FBS. His most recent extension will keep him at Iowa until at least 2026.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

12. James Franklin — $4.6 million

School: Penn State

Conference: Big Ten

Potential Bonus: $1.0 million

Championships (conference/national): 1/0

One thing to know: It took a lot of money to lure Franklin away from Vanderbilt and the SEC after Bill O'Brien abandoned Penn State after just two years. But so far it appears to be a good move. After back-to-back 7-6 seasons, Penn State won the Big Ten championship in 2016 and is now a legit national championship contender.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

11. Gus Malzahn — $4.7 million

School: Auburn

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.4 million

Championships (conference/national): 2/0

One thing to know: Malzahn led Auburn to the BCS Championship game in his first season as head coach at Auburn. That earned him an early extension, but Auburn was just 23-16 in the next three seasons combined.

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

10. Kevin Sumlin — $5.0 million

School: Texas A&M

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $1.1 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: With all the wealthy alumni opening their wallets, the rich Texas recruiting pool, and the allure of the SEC, it can be argued that Texas A&M is one of the top coaching jobs in the country. However, after winning 20 games in his first two seasons at A&M, he hasn't won more than eight games in any season since.

(Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

9. Gary Patterson — $5.1 million

School: Texas Christian

Conference: Big 12

Potential Bonus: not available

Championships (conference/national): 6/0

One thing to know: When Patterson took over TCU in 2000, they were in the WAC conference. Since then, they have moved to Conference USA, the Mountain West, and now into an annual championship contender as a member of one of the lucrative Power-5 conferences, the Big 12. 

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

8. Tom Herman — $5.5 million

School: Texas

Conference: Big 12

Potential Bonus: $725,000

Championships (conference/national): 1/0

One thing to know: Herman is just in his third year as a head coach and just his first in a Power-5 conference. However, he turned Houston into one of the best programs outside of the Power-5 conferences and now has Texas looking like they are heading back in the right direction.

(Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

7. David Shaw — $5.7 million

School: Stanford

Conference: Pac-12

Potential Bonus: not available

Championships (conference/national): 3/0

One thing to know: Shaw is now in his seventh season as Stanford's coach after replacing Jim Harbaugh in 2011. Shaw had served as Harbaugh's offensive coordinator after nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

6. Jimbo Fisher — $5.7 million

School: Florida State

Conference: ACC

Potential Bonus: $1.5 million

Championships (conference/national): 3/1

One thing to know: Before becoming head coach at Florida State, Fisher learned under some notable head coaches, serving as an assistant for Bobby Bowden, Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Terry Bowden at different times. Things might have been much different for Fisher if the University of Alabama board of trustees did not reject his contract to become head coach at Alabama-Birmingham in 2007. Nowadays, Fisher says he is glad they did

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

5. Rich Rodriguez — $6.0 million

School: Arizona

Conference: Pac-12

Potential Bonus: $2.0 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Rodriguez is the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12 despite winning more than eight games just once in his first five seasons at the school.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

4. Urban Meyer — $6.4 million

School: Ohio State

Conference: Big Ten

Potential Bonus: $775,000

Championships (conference/national): 5/3

One thing to know: After Meyer won his third national championship as a head coach during the 2014 season, he was rewarded with an extension, and yet he is still just the second-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten. 

(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

3. Jim Harbaugh — $7.0 million

School: Michigan

Conference: Big Ten

Potential Bonus: $1.3 million

Championships (conference/national): 0/0

One thing to know: Of Harbaugh's salary, $2.0 million annually is in the form of an insurance-premium payment by the school on a life insurance policy in Harbaugh's name. According to the Detroit Free-Press, the school gets its money back without interest when Harbaugh dies. However, the death benefit is estimated be worth at least $20 million to his family.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

2. Dabo Swinney — $8.5 million

School: Clemson

Conference: ACC

Potential Bonus: $1.0 million

Championships (conference/national): 3/1

One thing to know: Swinney was a wide receiver for the 1992 Alabama team that won the National Championship and started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Crimson Tide. He left for Clemson when Mike Shula became the head coach at Bama.

(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

1. Nick Saban — $11.1 million

School: Alabama

Conference: SEC

Potential Bonus: $700,000

Championships (conference/national): 8/5

One thing to know: Shortly after flirting with the University of Texas in 2014, Saban got a new deal with Alabama and also had the $3 million mortgage on his house paid off by a foundation backed by University of Alabama boosters.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Now check out which NFL players have made the most in their careers.

The 25 highest-paid players in NFL history

See Also:

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.