Brian Kelly's Full LSU Contract Details Released After Leaving Notre Dame

Adam WellsDecember 1, 2021

New LSU football coach Brian Kelly gestures to fans after his arrival at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. Kelly, formerly of Notre Dame, is said to have agreed to a 10-year contract with LSU worth $95 million plus incentives.  (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Brian Kelly will be the second-highest paid coach in college football thanks to the terms of his contract with LSU. 

Per the term sheet obtained by USA Today's Steve Berkowitz, Kelly's deal with the Tigers will pay him just over $100 million over 10 years. 

Kelly's base salary is only $400,000, but he will also receive "supplemental compensation that begins at an annual rate of $8.6 million" and a $500,000 longevity payment that will be paid out every year on July 1 that he remains on the job. 

Berkowitz provided additional details about Kelly's supplemental compensation and additional incentives he can earn: 

"Kelly’s supplemental pay has a series of scheduled increases—to $8.8 million in 2023, $9 million in 2025, $9.2 million in 2027, $9.4 million in 2029 and $9.6 million in 2031. But the deal has provisions that will allow him to increase those payments. It also offers the possibility of $1.325 million in annual bonuses, including $500,000 each time LSU is 'bowl eligible.' This is likely the largest bonus payment for becoming eligible for a bowl game that does not involve a contract extension."


Kelly's $9.5 million "basic total" for the 2022 season is tied with Michigan State's Mel Tucker for the second-highest salary among all college football coaches. 

Tucker, who had been rumored to be a candidate for the LSU job, signed a 10-year, $95 million extension with the Spartans on Nov. 24. His 2022 salary breaks down to $5.9 million in base salary, $3.1 million in media appearances, $100,000 from school-negotiated apparel and a $400,000 annual retention bonus, per Kirkland Crawford and Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press

Notre Dame signed Kelly to a contract extension through the 2024 season in September. Full terms of his deal with the Fighting Irish weren't publicly disclosed since the university is a private institution, but USA Today's survey of coaching salaries released in October estimated the 60-year-old was earning $2.67 million annually in base salary. 

According to Berkowitz, Alabama head coach Nick Saban's $9.9 million salary in 2022 is projected to be the highest among all college coaches. 

Kelly is coming to LSU after Ed Orgeron's six-year tenure with the program.

Orgeron led the Tigers to a 51-20 overall record, including a 15-0 mark and a College Football Playoff championship in 2019. 

Kelly just finished his 12th season at Notre Dame after taking over the program in December 2009. His official record with the Fighting Irish is 92-39 after the NCAA forced them to vacate 21 wins from the 2012-13 seasons due to academic misconduct. 

Notre Dame hasn't lost more than two games in a season since 2017. It went 12-0 during the 2019 regular season before losing to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal.