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9 Most Overpaid Coaches in College Football Right Now

by: Esteban On  Friday, November 8, 2013

overpaid coach college football 2013

This week, USA Today released their annual list of the highest-paid coaches in college football. The results, as always, were interesting. There are 17 coaches making $3 million or more. There are 50 making $2 million or more. And there are only 22 making less than $500,000. So yeah, coaching college football pays pretty well.

Of course, not everyone making a big fat pay check by running a Division I team is really earning it. So today we’re going to present you with the nine most overpaid coaches in college football today.

Wanna see who isn’t earning their keep? Then take a look.


9. Bill O'Brien (Penn State)


2013 Salary: $3,282,779

Did Bill O’Brien do a fantastic job last year under the hardest possible circumstances? Yes, absolutely. And his Nittany Lions are doing okay again this year, with a respectable 5-3 record so far. But $3.28 million for one good season? He’s still only in his second year as the head coach of any team at any level. Yes, he was the OC for the New England Patriots and thus was mentored by Bill Belichick. But should he really be the 14th-highest paid coach in college football?

Obviously, you know what I think.


8. Darrell Hazell (Purdue)

8 darrell hazell purdue - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,160,833

Hazell was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2004-2010, and that gives him a little pedigree. But really, the only thing that matters—which so many schools seem to forget—is actual head coaching experience. Even genius assistants don’t oversee recruitment and run the entire team. And when it comes to head coaching experience, Purdue’s Hazell doesn’t have much. He had two years at Kent State—one of which was a solid 11-3 season—before getting hired by Purdue for $2.16 million.

That price isn’t insane for the Big 10. But considering he was making just $300,000 last year at Kent State, you’d have to think Purdue overbid for his services just a bit.

I bet the administration is really enjoying their 1-7 season right now.


7. Will Muschamp (Florida)

7 will muschamp florida - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,724,500

Two and a quarter million bucks ins’t bad compensation for a coach at an SEC powerhouse. And, really, when you’re talking about the SEC, you have to remember that money isn’t an option. What else are they going to spend their insane revenues on? Player salaries? No, there’s really no incentive to be economically efficient when hiring coaches in the SEC.

That being said, for a guy with zero head coaching experience coming in, Muschamp’s starting salary of $3.21 million in 2011 was nuts, and his 2013 salary of $2.72 million is kind of high, too. Yes, he was the DC at Auburn and Texas. Yes, that merits a top head coaching job. But when a guy starts at $3 million, where are you going to go from there if he succeeds? Nick Saban is, deservedly, the highest-paid coach in college football, and he “only” makes $5.5 million. If Muschamp wins a couple of SEC titles in the next few years, Florida is going to pay him Saban money.


6. Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)

6 kirk ferentz iowa - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $3,985,000

Kirk Ferentz has been the head coach at Iowa since 1999, and on the whole he’s done a terrific job. Under his leadership, the Hawkeyes have four top-10 finished and another one in the top 20.

That being said, Iowa still has not a single Big 10 title in the previous 14 season, and they’re not going to win one this year either. There’s no way anybody would say they are one of the nation’s top 10 programs. And yet, here’s Kirk Ferentz, making almost $4 million, which is the 9th-highest salary in college football.

No, I’m sorry, something is off here.


5. Jim Grobe (Wake Forest)


2013 Salary: $2,251,635

Like our buddy Kirk Ferentz at Iowa, Jim Grobe has been coaching his team for a long time–since 2001, to be exact. Unfortunately, during his tenure, Grobe has much less to show than Ferentz. The Demon Deacons went to the Orange Bowl (and lost) in 2006 and finished in the top 20. However, other than that 11-3 season, Grobe has had only two seasons in which they won at least eight games. That’s it. His record over the last 12-plus years is 77-79.

Nevertheless, Grobe is somehow making $100,000 more than Miami’s Al Golden, and he’s only making $50,000 less than Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher. That is insane.


4. Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia)

4 dana holdorsen west virginia - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,630,000

Really, everything about Holgorsen’s hiring in December 2010 was stupid. First, of course, there is the fact that West Virginia AD Oliver Luck hired Holgorsen as the Mountaineers OC and stated, up front, that he would replace head coach Bill Stewart in 2012 because he didn’t think Stewart could win a national title. I mean, how is that supposed to work out well?

Second, of course, is the salary Luck agreed to give Holgorsen. You see, Holgorsen had no head coaching experience. He was OC at Texas Tech, Houston, and Oklahoma State, none of which are even first-tier programs. But Luck decided, sure, let’s pay this rookie head coach over two and a half million bucks.

Well, after one good year in 2011—coaching with his predecessor’s players—the Mountaineers are under .500 and headed for their second straight disappointing season. But hey, at least they have the 24th-highest paid coach!


3. Dave Doeren (NC State)

3 dave doeren nc state - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,550,000

Some programs still do it the right way: when they hire young hot shots with no HC experience, they still make them start at the bottom when it comes to salary. Look at Oregon. They lost Chip Kelly in the offseason, but until last night’s loss to Stanford were in contention for a national title under Mark Helfrich—who makes “just” $1,800,000.

NC State is not like Oregon. They saw that Dave Doeren had two excellent seasons at Northern Illinois (basically coaching teams put together by Jerry Kill), determined he was a young hot shot genius, and gave him a $2.13 million raise to come coach the Wolfpack.

How’s it going? Well, so far NC State is 0-5 in the ACC. And again, let me remind you that Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher makes just $2.75 million.


2. Charlie Weis (Kansas)

2 charlie weis kansas - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,503,727

This one just makes you laugh, doesn’t it? After two decent years (that ended in bowl losses) at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis went 3-9, 7-6, and 6-6 in his last three years. At Notre Dame!

Nevertheless, the folks over at Kansas were like, hey, somebody’s gonna snatch this genius up! Let’s hire him for two and a half million a year!

So they did. And so far, the Jayhawks are 3-17 under the 31st-highest paid college football coach in the country.


1. Lane Kiffin (USC)

1 lane kiffin usc - overpaid coaches college football

2013 Salary: $2,594,091

Yep, the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12 doesn’t even coach in the Pac-12 (or anywhere) anymore. That’s brutal. Hell, even Tennessee “only” paid the guy $2 million the year he coached them to a National Championship 7-6 record.

So yeah, this one really was a no brainer. Lane Kiffin is by far the most overpaid coach in college football this year. Way to go, USC.