There are five good reasons why Nick Saban commands $11 million a year – but there are plenty of Power 5 coaches that are “cashing it” in so to speak.
Here’s a look at the Top 5 most overpaid coaches in college football.
5. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops
2017 salary: $3.75 million
Where it ranked nationally: No. 22
Win/loss record to date: 26-36
Last year, Mark Stoops signed a contract extension through 2022. His new deal will pay him upwards of $4.75 million between 2021-22. And yet Stoops has only produced two winning seasons in which the Wildcats were barely over .500.
4. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith
2017 salary: $3 million
Where it ranked nationally: No. 39
Win/loss record to date: 5-19
Lovie Smith was a flashy hire by an Illinois program trying to escape the basement of the Big Ten. But a 5-19 record in two seasons doesn’t exactly feel like much of a foundation for greatness – even for a long-term rebuilding project. Throw in reports that the long-time NFL coach is miserable in Champaign and fans can’t be too happy about Lovie’s fat paycheck.
3. Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury
2017 salary: $3.5 million
Where it ranked nationally: No. 27
Win/loss record to date: 30-33
At just 33 years old, Kliff Kingsbury was named Texas Tech’s head coach after just one season as an offensive coordinator for Texas A&M. Naturally, the expectations have been high for the Kingsbury after Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy under his tutelage in 2012. However, Kingsbury’s tenure has produced just two winning seasons and an overall losing record – hardly enough to command his salary. Red Raiders’ fans no doubt want one of their own to lead the team back to prominence, but you have to wonder if their patience will wear thin before his contract is up in 2020.
2. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz
2017 salary: $4.55 million
Where it ranked nationally: No. 13
Win/loss record to date: 143-97
The Hawkeyes might be a little too attached to their head coach who has lead the program since 1999. Kirk Ferentz is currently the longest-tenured coach with one program in the FBS, despite the fact Iowa hasn’t won the Big Ten title since 2004. Not only has Ferentz managed to keep his job – but he’s making bank in the process. While Iowa is never a squad to sleep on, $4.5 million seems like a hefty price tag for a coach who has only five 10+ winning seasons in almost two decades in Iowa City.
1. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh
2017 salary: $7 million
Where it ranked nationally: No. 3
Win/loss record to date: 28-11
With Shea Patterson under center next season, Jim Harbaugh could very well take Michigan to a national title. But right now that’s still a hypothetical for an elite program. After back-to-back 10-win seasons, Harbaugh didn’t exactly deliver in 2017. The Wolverines are also winless in three meetings against their rival, Ohio State, and have yet to win a conference title under Harbaugh. Until that happens, Harbaugh is going to be considered overpaid from a results perspective.