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College Football 2011: The 25 Most Overpaid Coaches

Jason FigueiredoCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2017

College Football 2011: The 25 Most Overpaid Coaches

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    In sports, winning is everything. 

    While parents of youth athletes may try to convince their children otherwise, when it comes down to brass tacks, there is either a winner or a loser to every competitive game.

    For college football coaches, winning isn’t only everything but it’s the only the thing.  The success of a coach is determined on how many overall wins he brings the program under his tenure.  Although some coaches (like Mack Brown) can escape one year of mediocrity because of the deep legend he laid prior, other coaches (like Jim Grobe) could be skating on thin ice, no matter how well they did a few years ago. 

    At the end of last year, USA Today published an article laying out the salaries of practically every coach in Division I-A football.  While this is not completely comprehensive due to about a dozen schools withholding the information, it is amazing to see the extreme range that coaches are paid.

    However, the dollar amount on a coach’s paycheck doesn’t necessarily take away the all-importance of bringing home a win.  A lower salaried coach who solidifies only one or no wins in a season is still extremely overpaid.   

    With that said, let’s take a look at 25 coaches who somehow eluded the axe last year and will be overpaid once again in 2011.

No. 25: Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,050,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $350,000

    In 2009, Paul Rhoads led the Cyclones to a 3-5 conference record, but he was praised because Iowa State made its first bowl game in four years.

    After last season, Rhoads once again went 3-5 in conference play. However, this time around, he didn’t make a bowl, and many are ready for a change. 

    Rhoads probably still has a few lifelines left, but three conference wins per year is not going to cut it.  

No. 24: June Jones, Southern Methodist

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    Annual University Compensation: $2,142,056

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $357,009

    June Jones ranks 17th on the list of salaries. But is spending this much money on a coach really worth a Conference USA title?

    To Mustangs fans, of course it’s worth it.  With Jones, SMU will contend for a conference title every season, and he also provides the distant daydream that the Mustangs may someday snag a BCS bowl spot. 

    But at the end of the day, when you considered the chances of SMU actually making a BCS bowl, this salary seems more like throwing away a ton of money for a very minimal reward.  

No. 23: Steve Sarkisian, Washington

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,850,004

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $370,001

    Although Washington’s improvements under Steve Sarkisian are undeniable, his lofty salary seems slightly unwarranted considering his lack of experience as a head coach.

    “Sark” is a dynamic coach who has a bright future in front of him and one my favorites in the conference.  But maybe he should finish higher than third in the Pac-10 before raking in the big bucks.  

No. 22: Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

     Annual University Compensation: $1,500,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $375,000

    Dennis Erickson started his Arizona State tenure with a bang, tying for the Pac-10 Conference title and finishing with a 10-win season. 

    Things have not been so great since.

    Erickson has won eight conference games since that amazing first year but has failed to post a winning record over the past four years.

    If he fails again this season with the bevy of talent returning for him, it might be time for Erickson to flee to the NFL again. 

No. 21: Rob Ianello, Akron

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    Annual University Compensation: $375,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $375,000

    Rob Ianello may not be making buckets of dollars in terms of coaches, but this still does not validate a one-win season. 

    In his first year with the Zips, Ianello became the third head coach since Akron moved into the FBS who mustered only a single victory.    

    However, since losing seems to be in the Zips tradition, another slow start for this head coach should not be that big of surprise. 

No. 20: Ron Zook, Illinois

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,505,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $376,250

    Illinois fans have to be asking themselves how much longer Ron Zook will dangle his Illini out there as Big Ten bait. 

    Zook boasts a dreadful 16-32 Big Ten record, with only two winning seasons over his six years in Illinois.

    The Illini showed vague signs of life last year, but they will need to mature much faster to make any kind of run at the Leaders Division title in 2011.  

No. 19: Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State

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    Annual University Compensation: $401,820

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $0

    Although Mike MacIntyre ranks in the bottom tier of the salary list, that is no excuse for the disgusting season that he put together last year.

    If having one of the toughest non-conference schedules wasn’t enough for San Jose State, it proved to be even more futile against its own conference. 

    MacIntyre started off his coaching tenure with the Spartans with 12 losses, which is never a good total when you are trying to justify his type of salary, for such a sub-par team, in a cash-strapped state.

No. 18: Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,750,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $437,500

    It has been a roller-coaster ride with Dabo Swinney out in Clemson.  

    Since he took over for Tommy Bowden midseason in 2008, the mood surrounding Swinney has been anything but steady. 

    Consecutive losses to South Carolina plus a 6-7 record last year has many people questioning Swinney’s real worth.  Another down season could mean exile for Dabo. 

No. 17: Charlie Strong, Louisville

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,600,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $533,333

    It is hard to get a gauge on Charlie Strong with only one year under his belt. However, I really doubt fans were hoping for only three wins against the Big East last season.

    Strong still has time to prove his worth, especially with how wide open the Big East will be this year.  But, a seven-digit salary means that your window to show improvements is quickly closing and the patience of management and fans will be pressing sooner than you think.  

No. 16: Skip Holtz, South Florida

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,700,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $566,667

    It is a known fact that you always pay more for brand names.

    Holtz is one of the biggest brand names in college football and Skip is the Coke Zero of this coaching corporation.

    Skip marched the Bulls to a bowl game victory, which was a pretty big accomplishment in his first year.  However, it seems like USF could have paid a little less for the son of a prodigy coach.  

No. 15: Paul Wulff, Washington State

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $600,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $600,000

    Even though Paul Wulff is the least-paid coach in any BCS conference, it still seems like he should take a pay cut for his continued sorrows at Washington State.

    Wulff has won two Pac-10 games over the past three seasons. It is truly amazing that he hasn’t been fired already.  

No. 14: Rick Neuheisel, UCLA

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $2,118,391

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $706,130

    Rick Neuheisel’s success out West seemed to come to a screeching halt once he entered Los Angeles. 

    After several winning seasons with Colorado and Washington, Neuheisel can’t seem to surpass three conference wins with the Bruins.  Holstering a 15-22 record as UCLA’s head coach, Neuheisel’s tenure in Southern California will definitely be numbered if he can’t make a decent run at the Pac-12 South title.  

No. 13: Bill Snyder, Kansas State

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,875,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $625,000

    It is undeniable that Bill Snyder has laid out a storied history at Kansas State.  He had a run of 11 straight bowl appearances, won three conference division titles and one conference title in 2003.

    Since coming back to coach the Wildcats in 2009, the tune has not quite been the same.

    The past two seasons Snyder has only collected seven conference wins and could have a tough road ahead with the new Big 12 schedule. 

No. 12: Derek Dooley, Tennessee

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $2,118,391

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $706,130

    After three mediocre years at Louisiana Tech, Derek Dooley seemed to be a quick hire by Tennessee to distance itself from the Lane Kiffin fiasco.

    In his first year with the Vols, Dooley produced a mixed bag of nuts and didn’t quite live up to his $2 million salary.

    Another sub-.500 season for Dooley should allow fans to begin questioning the decision making that is going on at the top of this program.   

No. 11: Larry Porter, Memphis

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    Annual University Compensation: $750,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $0

    Larry Porter wasn’t expected to perform miracles in 2010 with the Memphis Tigers, but fans probably hoped he would at least improve on their 2-10 season from 2009.

    Unfortunately, Porter stumbled in his first season as head coach, winning only one game.

    While Porter will hopefully show signs of righting the ship in his second year, a coach’s stock can sink extremely fast, especially if he can’t make noticeable headway in conference play. 

No. 10: Mike Locksley, New Mexico

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    Eric Draper/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $750,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $750,000

    Mike Locksley has won a total of two games in the two years he has been the head coach of the New Mexico Lobos. 

    Locksley ranks slightly below the average pay for a FBS head coach, landing 68th on USA Today’s university compensation list.  However, he is going to have to do much better than one win per season to keep this inflated yearly wage through 2012.

No. 9: Joker Phillips, Kentucky

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,700,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $850,000

    Joker Phillips nobly raised through the coaching staff ranks at Kentucky.  However, last year with him at the helm, the Wildcats still finished with the same unsatisfying result.

    Kentucky football tends to flirt with the below-.500 line every year and paying an inexperienced head coach over a million dollars is not going to fix that.   

No. 8: Dave Christensen, Wyoming

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $861,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $861,000

    After leading Wyoming to its first winning record since 2004, Dave Christensen belly-flopped his next time out, only winning one Mountain West Conference game last year. 

    Whether or not he can rebound from last season’s debacle should determine how much longer Christensen stays with the team.

No. 7: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

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    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $3,775,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $1,895,000

    Of the top seven paid coaches on USA Today’s list, six coaches claimed national championship over the past 10 years.  The lone defect would be Kirk Ferentz. 

    However, Ferentz hasn’t exactly been twiddling his thumbs at Iowa the past 12 seasons.  Iowa makes waves every year, but just can’t get over that hump to make a national championship run.

    Ferentz’s contract ranks fifth on the list, slightly above Les Miles and Jim Tressel.  With that type of money, Iowa should be, at the very least, finishing among the top two in the Big Ten standings every year.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case.    

No. 6: David Cutcliffe, Duke

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,581,903

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $1,581,903

    David Cutcliffe’s staggered success at Duke is getting old really fast.

    Cutcliffe has only won five conference games as the Blue Devil’s head coach, averaging roughly $950,000 per conference win. 

    If Cutcliffe can’t find a way to move the needle in 2011, he could be coaching a different team this time next year.  

No. 5: Mike London, Virginia

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,780,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $1,780,000

    After two boisterous years with the Richmond Spiders, Mike London became the apple of Virginia’s eye last offseason.  Virginia got its man, but paid an awful price for him.

    London’s contract seems abnormally high for a head coach who has yet to prove himself in a BCS conference. Although London’s first season at the helm for the Cavaliers was not putrid, it didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression either. 

    As for London, the proof may be in the pudding, but Virginia fans are anxiously waiting at the refrigerator door.  

No. 4: Greg Schiano, Rutgers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $1,895,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $1,895,000

    While Greg Schiano has orchestrated varied success with Rutgers in the past, they really hit the bottom of the barrel last year.

    Schiano coached the Knights to five straight bowl games (2005-2009), but only managed to win four games last season. Although Rutgers returns 10 starters on offense, it should struggle to make any serious leaps in the Big East Standings.

    With a 24-45 record against Big East teams, it might be time to wonder if another coach at this same annual price can do better.  

No. 3: Turner Gill, Kansas

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $2,100,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $2,100,000

    Turner Gill took over a five-win Kansas squad last year with the intentions of bringing this team back to the top of a stacked Big 12 Conference. Things didn’t pan out like he planned.

    Although his salary per overall win is not completely horrendous, he did not win the games that meant the most.  Gill only won one Big 12 Conference game last year, a wild shootout with Colorado that could have gone the other way. 

    If things don’t improve fast, impatience will quickly creep into this fanbase, especially with the size of his university compensation.  

No. 2: Houston Nutt, Mississippi

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $2,500,000

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $2,500,000

    It is without question that Houston Nutt experienced great success throughout his coaching tenure at Arkansas.

    Even his first two seasons with Ole Miss weren’t exactly terrible, winning nine games and two Cotton Bowls in both of those years. 

    However, a one-win season in the SEC last year was a first for the tenured coach as either a Razorback or a Rebel.  While most Rebels fans are not running for the hills after last season’s brief hiccup, Nutt’s steady decline in SEC wins has to raise some alarms about the worth of his abundant salary.    

No. 1: Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Annual University Compensation: $2,939,475

    2010 Salary Per Conference Win: $2,939,475

    Since winning the ACC Conference title in 2006, Jim Grobe’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons have spiraled down the drain.  

    Grobe’s overall and conference record has consistently moved south the past four seasons, hitting rock bottom last year with only one win against the ACC and only three wins overall.  To the amazement of most, Grobe was still the eighth highest-paid coach in the FBS last year. 

    Although Wake Forest should do a little bit better this year, for what they are paying Grobe, they should be finishing much higher.  

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