How Much Money Do College Football's Best Coaches Make Per Hour?

Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2013

How Much Money Do College Football's Best Coaches Make Per Hour?

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    According to, head college football coaches work, on average, 100 hours per week, a number that may make you wonder what the hourly rate is for the guys who have consistently pumped out winning teams.

    Yes, we know what they make per year, but what do they make for 60 minutes on the job?

    The following slideshow utilizes the information in the latest college football salaries database provided by and works out the hourly pay rate of 25 of the most successful coaches in the FBS.

    If that weren’t enough, we take our analysis one full step further and power rank this select number of coaches (that have been selected subjectively as the “best”) based on their 60-minute income.

    In order to be consistent, we’ve calculated the hourly wage for each coach by taking his “total pay” for 2012 as per the database (without a bonus that he may or may not get), divided it by 52 weeks and then divided that figure by 100 hours.

    To keep things in perspective, bear in mind that, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current average hourly earnings for U.S. employees is—as of March 2013—$23.82.

    To serve as an additional comparative statistic, the current hourly rates for three less well-known head coaches from smaller programs are as follows: Todd Berry from ULM makes $48.08 per hour (the lowest paid coach in the FBS ranks, setting the “minimum wage” for the role), Frank Solich from Ohio makes $98.37 per hour and Rocky Long from San Diego State makes $154.35 per hour.

    As a note, this is not meant to be a comprehensive listing that ranks all 125 FBS coaches' hourly wages, but instead it's meant to be a very selective comparison of some of the more successful active head coaches.


25. Larry Blakeney, Troy

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    Total Yearly Pay: $455,000

    Hourly Wage: $87.50

    Though when you think of “best coaches in college football,” Troy’s Larry Blakeney might not be the first (or last) guy to come to mind, he’s been stellar over his 21-year career with the Trojans.

    Not only has Blakeney successfully guided Troy from D-II status to the DI-AA and then finally to the DI-A ranks, but he’s also got an overall record of 168-99-1 and has earned conference titles seven times.

    What’s perhaps most impressive about Blakeney is that he led the Trojans to five consecutive Sun Belt conference championships from 2006-2010.

    This feat is even more impressive when you realize that Troy didn’t even move up to the FBS ranks (formerly D-IA) until 2001 and didn’t join the Sun Belt until 2004.

    Blakeney’s hourly wage puts him in line with guys like Carl Pelini at FAU and Bobby Hauck at UNLV.

24. Mike Riley, Oregon State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $1,317,847

    Hourly Wage: $253.43

    Even though Mike Riley has yet to win a Pac-12 title during his 16-year tenure at Oregon State, he’s 81-67 overall with the Beavers, 5-2 in bowl action and has finished campaigns ranked in the final AP poll four times.

    Sure, this guy isn’t necessarily Chip Kelly, but he’s been successful enough to survive almost two decades at a solid BCS program.

    Riley’s hourly rate puts him on par with guys like Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Colorado State’s Jim McElwain and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson.

23. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

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    Total Yearly Pay: $1,500,000

    Hourly Wage: $288.46

    The Rich Rod era at Arizona is only entering into its second season but already he’s pulling in a cool 288 bills per hour.

    Though that might seem fairly generous for a guy who won only eight games last season and is 134-93-2 as a college head coach, things become significantly more fraught when you stack up his wage rate with that of the leader at in-state rival Arizona State.

    Indeed, isn’t it so very interesting that the Sun Devils' new head coach, Todd Graham, also entering his second year at the helm, makes almost double what Rodriguez earns raking in 3 million clams yearly, which equates to $576.92 per hour.


22. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $1,934,250

    Hourly Wage: $371.97

    The owner of a 51-28 record over six seasons at Michigan State, including a piece of the 2010 Big Ten title and a first ever Legends Division crown in 2011, Mark Dantonio has gone a long way in making Sparty relevant in football.

    Dantonio’s pay rate is comparable to June Jones at SMU, David Cutcliffe at Duke and Skip Holtz, who was at USF last year.

    If this seems somewhat inequitable based on the rate of success, consider the fact that Brady Hoke, at the bigger in-state school Michigan, pulls in almost $3 million per annum, netting him a cool $585.79 per hour.

    Yes, only one of the current head coaches in the state of Michigan has won the Big Ten, and it’s not Hoke.


21. Chris Petersen, Boise State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $1,959,833

    Hourly Wage: $376.89

    Though you had to figure that Boise State’s Chris Petersen isn’t earning what Bob Stoops at Oklahoma or Jimbo Fisher at Florida State is, it’s still hard to stomach the fact guys like Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and Kansas’ Charlie Weis make more.

    Petersen is 84-8 since 2006 at Boise State and owns five league titles, is 5-2 in bowl games, 2-0 in BCS play and has finished in the top 15 six of his seven seasons.

    Petersen’s pay rate is in line with Kyle Whittingham from Utah, Jim Mora from UCLA and Derek Dooley, who was at Tennessee last season.

20. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,050,024

    Hourly Wage: $394.24

    The guy who finally managed to gain traction at Clemson, Dabo Swinney is 21-6 over the past two seasons and has grabbed at least a share of the ACC Atlantic crown in both campaigns.

    Overall, Swinney is 40-21 since 2008 at Clemson, is 2-3 in bowl play, 0-1 in the BCS and has managed top-25 finishes three times.

    Swinney’s hourly rate of just under $400 puts him in the same pay grade as Tommy Tuberville who was, at Texas Tech in 2012, and Bill Snyder at Kansas State.


19. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,200,000

    Hourly Wage: $423.08

    The man who engineered a football revival at K-State not once but twice, Bill Snyder is raking in nearly $425 per hour as a 74-year-old.

    Snyder is 170-85-1 all time at Kansas State, has two Big 12 titles to his name and is 21-5 since 2011.

    What’s a real travesty in terms of comparable salaries in the Big 12 is the fact that both Art Briles from Baylor and Charlie Weis from Kansas make more cash than Snyder does.


18. Charlie Strong, Louisville

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,300,000

    Hourly Wage: $442.31

    After three seasons and two shared Big East titles at Louisville, Charlie Strong has managed to move up into the big time in terms of coaching salaries.

    Strong is only 25-14 overall at Louisville thus far, but his 2012 campaign, which included an 11-2 finish and a righteous upset victory over Florida in the BCS Sugar Bowl, makes it look like the sky’s the limit for the former Gator assistant.

    Strong’s earning power puts him in the same echelon as Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen and Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe.

17. Lane Kiffin, USC

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,406,505

    Hourly Wage: $462.79

    Even though a 25-13 record over three seasons at potential-packed USC makes labeling Lane Kiffin as one of the “best coaches” questionable, it’s impossible not to wonder what the Trojans' head man is scoring for 60 minutes of work.

    Kiffin’s “total pay” is more than likely higher than listed based on the fact that USC is a private school, which may not have to be as forthcoming with the precise total figure being shelled out.

    Kiffin’s income, again as listed, puts him on par with Steve Sarkisian at Washington.

16. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,300,000

    Hourly Wage: $442.31

    Another guy from a privately held institution that is not subject to the same public disclosure laws, Brian Kelly’s salary is more than likely understated in salary database.

    Kelly is 28-11 at Notre Dame and 199-68-2 all time as a college head coach, and his hourly wage, again as calculated per the numbers provided, lines up with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

15. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,428,000

    Hourly Wage: $466.92

    Proving that 25 years of winning service doesn’t necessarily guarantee top billing on the pay charts, we find the case of Frank Beamer.

    The Beamer era has brought Virginia Tech seven conference titles, six BCS bowls and a Sugar and Orange Bowl before the BCS era began in 1998.

    To add to this sparkling list of achievements before finishing 7-6 in 2012, the Hokies hadn’t dropped under 10 wins since 2003.

    Beamer’s hourly rate isn’t anything to snort at, but you would have thought that a 216-104-2 record would have put him above guys like Virginia’s Mike London, North Carolina’s Larry Fedora and Cal’s Jeff Tedford, who all made more dough in 2012.

14. Will Muschamp, Florida

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,474,500

    Hourly Wage: $475.87

    Two years after never being the head football coach at any level, Will Muschamp is 18-8 as the big man at Florida and he’s quickly closing in on the $500 an hour mark.

    Based on 2012 figures, Muschamp, almost unbelievably, makes almost the exact same amount per year and per hour as does Charlie Weis at Kansas and Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.

    You have to figure that if Muschamp can find a way to put some points on the board, he’ll rise up the salary charts in a rapid fashion.

13. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,750,000

    Hourly Wage: $528.85

    Though we’re still unsure as to whether or not Jimbo Fisher can take Florida State back to the national championship game, we are now sure that he can win the ACC.

    Fisher is 31-10 in three years at FSU, a record which includes a 3-0 record in bowl play, a 1-0 mark in BCS games, two divisional titles and the 2012 ACC crown.

    Fisher’s hourly wage puts him in the neighborhood of guys like Gary Pinkel from Missouri and Bret Bielema in his final season at Wisconsin.

12. Bo Pelini, Nebraska

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,875,000

    Hourly Wage: $552.88

    Even though Bo Pelini has yet to win a conference title and hasn’t managed to get Nebraska to a BCS bowl, he’s also never led the Huskers to a finish under the nine-win mark.

    Pelini is 49-20 since 2008 at Nebraska, is 2-3 in bowl play, has four top-25 finishes and has captured five divisional titles (three in the Big 12 and one in the Big 10).

    Pelini’s pay is comparable to Mark Richt at Georgia, a high compliment from a payroll standpoint.

11. Mark Richt, Georgia

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    Total Yearly Pay: $2,925,340

    Hourly Wage: $562.57

    The last member of our list to make less than 3 million clams per year (again, we’re using the stated “total pay” in the database), Mark Richt finished the 2012 season just one matchup away from the BCS title game.

    Overall, Richt is 118-40 over his 12 seasons between the hedges, and though he’s only won the SEC twice, he’s won the SEC East six times, managed six top-10 finishes, is 8-4 in bowl play, is 3-0 in BCS action and has never failed to lead his team to a bowl game.

    Richt’s hourly wage is amazingly on par with Todd Graham from Arizona State, who is 57-34 overall as a head coach and 14-11 over his two stops at BCS schools.


10. Brady Hoke, Michigan

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,046,120

    Hourly Wage: $585.79

    Though it’s certainly no surprise that Michigan is willing to fork out $3 million for its head football coach, Brady Hoke is still a guy who is 66-57 all time as a head coach.

    Hoke is 19-7 in his first two seasons at Michigan, including his debut season, when the Wolverines went 11-2 and nipped Virginia Tech 23-20 in the BCS Sugar Bowl.

    In terms of where Hoke falls in the pay scale sweepstakes, he makes just more than Todd Graham of Arizona State and just a hair (or $200,000) less than Mike Gundy from Oklahoma State.


9. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,275,000

    Hourly Wage: $629.81

    When you consider the fact that Mike Gundy is the guy who led the 2011 Oklahoma State football team to its first conference title since taking home a share of the Big Eight championship in 1976, I guess it makes sense that the Cowboys pay him $629 per hour.

    But you’ve also got to figure that the other reason Gundy’s name is listed at the top tier of the pay rate sheet is because of Oklahoma State’s uber-generous benefactor, T. Boone Pickens, a guy who I wish would have attended Texas Tech University.

    Either way, Gundy is an impressive 67-35 since 2005 at Oklahoma State, including a 5-2 record in bowl play, a 1-0 mark in BCS action and four top-25 finishes.

    Even though these numbers are good, especially given the inherent difficulty of winning in a conference dominated by Texas and Oklahoma, it’s a bit surprising that Gundy is paid very near what Oregon’s Chip Kelly earned last season.

8. Gary Patterson, TCU

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,467,926

    Hourly Wage: $666.91

    Before you prematurely declare TCU's Gary Patterson overpaid at $666.91 for a full hour of work, consider the fact the he is one of only three active FBS coaches who have an all-time record over the .750 mark (the other two are Bob Stoops from Oklahoma and Urban Meyer of Ohio State).

    Overall, Patterson is 116-36 in 12 seasons at TCU, including five conference titles, a 7-5 record in bowl play, a 1-1 record in BCS action and nine top-25 finishes.

    Patterson’s hourly wage puts him in the same league at Chip Kelly and Gene Chizik, both of whom earned similar rates during their final seasons at Oregon and Auburn, respectively.

7. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,585,000

    Hourly Wage: $689.42

    The “old ball coach” is the last guy on our list to rake in less than $700 per hour, but with what’s he’s done at South Carolina, you’ve got to figure he earns every single dollar.

    Well, at least relative to what all of the other guys are making.

    Spurrier is 208-77-2 overall as a college coach, a number which includes his current 66-37 eight-year run with the Gamecocks.

    The all-time Spurrier resume includes the 1996-97 national title, seven conference championships, eight SEC East crowns, a 5-3 record in BCS play and a 9-10 mark in bowl action.

    Perhaps most impressively, Spurrier has led South Carolina to a 22-4 record over the past two seasons including back-to-back bowl wins and consecutive top-10 finishes.

    Spurrier’s hourly wage is comparable to Gene Chizik’s at Auburn last season and also that of Chip Kelly’s pay in 2012.

6. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,835,000

    Hourly Wage: $737.50

    The reason Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz pulls in the big bucks despite his 100-74 overall record since 1999 is that he’s been a serious enough blip on the NFL’s radar to warrant a measure of retention pay.

    Sure, Ferentz has led the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten crowns, four top-10 finishes and a 5-3 record in bowl action, but this is also an era of Iowa football with four bowl-less campaigns in the era of “everybody makes the postseason.”

    Ferentz’s generous pay puts him directly on par with LSU’s Les Miles.

5. Les Miles, LSU

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    Total Yearly Pay: $3,856,417

    Hourly Wage: $741.62

    Really, it’s no surprise to see LSU’s head man at the very top of the pay charts, and you’ve got to believe that if Les Miles could engineer another title run, he’d quickly join the ranks of the highly sought after $4 million club.

    Miles is 113-42 over his two stops as a college head coach and his 84-21 run at LSU since 2005 includes the 2007-08 BCS title, two SEC crowns and three SEC West championships.

    Miles is 5-3 in bowl action at LSU, 2-1 in BCS play, has finished seasons in the top three on three occasions and in the top 10 five times and has only missed the final rankings once in his time at Baton Rouge.

    In terms of where Miles’ pay scale puts him among the other elite coaches in college ball, the nearest comparable wage comes from Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz.


4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

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    Total Yearly Pay: $4,250,000

    Hourly Wage: $817.31

    Moving into the top tier of college football coaches in terms of hourly wage, all guys who make more than $800 dollars per hour, we get the money ball rolling with Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

    Overall, Meyer is 116-23 over his four whistle stops in 12 years as a college head coach and included in his treasure sack are two national championships, four conference titles and four divisional titles.

    Meyer is 7-1 in bowl play, 4-0 in the BCS and other than his first two seasons at Bowling Green, only one time has he failed to finish in the top 25, a disappointment he suffered during his final season at Florida in 2010.

    Meyer’s $817-an-hour rate means he makes $76 more per hour than LSU’s Les Miles and $58 less per hour than Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.



3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

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    Total Yearly Pay: $4,550,000

    Hourly Wage: $875.00

    The third of the three active FBS coaches with an all-time winning percentage over the .750 mark (the other two are TCU’s Gary Patterson and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer), Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops makes more money per hour than do 122 other FBS head coaches.

    What’s unique about Stoops among the top guys on our list, other than the visor, is that he is the only head coach to have spent his entire college career, thus far, at one school.

    Stoops is 149-37 since 1999 at Oklahoma, a number which includes the 2000-01 BCS title, eight Big 12 crowns, eight Big 12 South Championships and 12 top-25 finishes.

    Stoops is 7-7 in bowl play and 3-5 in BCS action, and none of his Sooner teams have failed to make a bowl game.

    Bob Stoops makes $154 less per hour than does Mack Brown, who has won only two Big 12 titles in comparison to Stoops’ total of eight.

2. Mack Brown, Texas

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    Total Yearly Pay: $5,353,750

    Hourly Wage: $1,029.57

    Formerly the highest paid coach in college football, Mack Brown now plays second fiddle to Nick Saban, who currently makes $122,988 more than Brown.

    Brown is 236-117-1 overall as a collegiate head coach and 150-43 since 1998 at Texas.

    Brown’s resume with the Longhorns includes a string of double-digit seasons that lasted from 2001 through 2009, the 2005-06 national title, two Big 12 crowns, six Big 12 South championships and a 10-4 record in bowl play.

    Only two of Brown’s Texas teams finished out of the top 25 (2010 and 2011), while seven ended the season in the top 10, and he is 3-1 in BCS action.

    Brown is one of only two guys in college ball to make $1,000 every time the grandfather clock tolls the passing of another hour on the job.


1. Nick Saban, Alabama

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    Total Yearly Pay: $5,476,738

    Hourly Wage: $1,053.22

    If you’re wondering how much four national titles, four SEC crowns and six SEC West championships are worth, how about $1,053.22 per hour, or $17.55 per minute?

    Yes, you get what you pay for, and with Nick Saban you get a 159-55-1 all-time record, including the 68-13 trail he’s managed to blaze thus far at Alabama.

    Saban is 8-5 all time in bowl play, 5-0 in BCS action, 4-0 in national title games and has managed eight top-10 finishes in his career.

    In terms of relative compensation, what’s hugely intriguing about Saban’s pay rate, especially when you stack the results up, is the fact that he makes a paltry $23.65 more an hour than does Texas’ Mack Brown.

    And that’s the kind of fact that absolutely changes the scope of the argument of who gets overpaid versus who does not.