The highest-paid employees of many states are college football coaches. We all know this, and at this point, it's just a fact of life that doesn't surprise us anymore. College football is a competitive field, and some guys are very good at it, and others are very bad, and it's in the financial interest of universities and the states that run them to pay up when it comes to coaches.
Luckily for us joke-makers, sometimes people screw up. Even more luckily, almost every coach's salary is public.
That allows us to calculate the coaches who are living the dream the hardest: the guys who got the most for doing the least. We calculated the least-efficiently paid coaches using the Darren Rovell Living Memorial Moneys Per Win Quotient, wherein we take a coach's salary and simply divide it by how many games he won this year. As Rovell has proven ever since he first scribbled 140-character notes to classmates on ripped looseleaf, the only form of value that really matters is how much money is earned and/or lost by various things, so these are the guys Rovell salutes.
We found the 10 worst offenders in college football. It doesn't include guys who have been fired. Rest in financial peace, Gene Chizik (made $3.57 million this year, received a $7.5 million buyout) and Jeff Tedford ($2.6 million, received nearly $7 million in buyout), who were fired after three-win seasons, earning just about a million bucks per win between the two of them. Let us also salute Ellis Johnson, who got $2.8 million dollars when Southern Miss bought out his four-year contract after just one season in which his team won zero games, aka INFINITY DOLLARS PER WIN.
(There are slight disparities in what coaches are reported to be paid, and some bonuses exist that aren't covered here, but USA Today's numbers are reasonably accurate, so we're running with those.
Charlie Weis, Kansas
Salary: $2.5 million
DRLM$PWQ: $2.5 million
While everyone's speculating how much Brian Kelly will receive from Notre Dame in contract re-ups after talking to the Philadelphia Eagles, his predecessor is the ballinest coach out there, per lack-of-production. I did this calculation without looking at a calculator, since Kansas only won one game this year. (But they got close a few times!) A few teams won only one game this year, but Weis is the only coach making over $400,000, and of those, some got fired. It's also worth noting that every other team in the Big 12 won at least six games, so, there were some really good teams, then some parity, and then a gigantic cliff with a dead jayhawk lying at the bottom.
How he balls: Specially commissioned Hellman's jars made at Venice's world famous Murano glass factory.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Salary: $3.835 million
Rundown: Black Heart Gold Pants has written about Ferentz' incalculably bad contract, which will keep him employed at Iowa through 2020 and therefore is virtually impossible to terminate. Ferentz was the sixth highest-paid coach in the nation this year, even though his team finished sixth in its division.
How he balls: Imports kilos of pure, uncut Metamucil.
Gary Patterson, TCU
Salary: $3.467 million
Seven wins isn't a bad year by anybody's standards, but Gary got that paycheck after leading TCU to the Rose Bowl. The Horned Frogs were a consistent contender in the Mountain West thanks to Patterson, but win totals often won't be as high in the Big 12. TCU fans aren't disappointed with his salary, though, welcoming the idea of an extension after this season.
How he balls: Angrily.
Mike London, Virginia
Salary: $2.552 million
London got a pay raise after going 8-4 and winning ACC Coach of the Year in his second season in Charlottesville. Virginia didn't do themselves any favors by scheduling Penn State, TCU, and Louisiana Tech in the non-con, but they did even fewer favors by losing to Maryland and Wake Forest. But London wants you to know the problem isn't him - he cleaned house on his coaching staff after the year.
How he balls: Building his own private TOWER OF LONDON to dominate the Charlottesville skyline.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Salary: $1.6 million
You might notice there's a tendency of first-year coaches to find their way onto this list. Understandable: old coaches get fired because they were doing poorly, then the recruits they brought in sometimes leave, and new coaches are given big contracts to fix it up. Sometimes it doesn't start right away.
But we still should take a moment to honor the impressively poor season guys like Weis and Becks had in their first years in new programs. The phrase, "in over his head," was invented for Tim Beckman's first year at Illinois, when his team went 0-8 in a weakened Big Ten conference. For their $1.6 million, the Illini got someone who delegated playcalling responsibilities on first and second downs to one coordinator and on third down to another coordinator, and cost his team yardage on the field because he couldn't get out of the way of referees. That led to semi-disappointment that he would be returning after less than a year in charge. My point is, I love Tim Beckman.
How he balls: Extreme sport vacation bonding weekends with Ron Zook
MIke Leach, Washington State
Salary: $2.25 million
The Dread Pirate Leach's first year with Washington State wasn't the best, as his Cougars went 3-9. Sure, it was his first year, but Leach was better than .500 in all 10 of his seasons at Texas Tech, and Washington State won four games the year before under Paul Wulff. When he was first signed, Washington State fans liked the hire, but some thought that Leach's contract was a tad big - Coug Center broke down potential ways to spend $11 million dollars in Pullman - but there doesn't seem to be backlash as the coach tries to build a winning team and/or write books about various historical figures.
How he balls: Fishin. Truth always > fiction with Mike Leach.
Mack Brown, Texas
Salary: $5.353 million
Despite what Texas fans might say, Brown's not on this list for incompetence: his team won nine games this year. But his salary's huge, so by this standard, he gets a ton per win. With enormous coaching salaries, teams tend to get what they pay for: Brown's team did the worst of the top five schools, with Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, and Ohio State all winning 10 games or more. I bring this up to point out how friggin' hilarious is that Iowa and Kirk Ferentz are sixth, paying roughly as much to win half as many games.
How he balls: Tune into the latest episode of "LHN Cribs" to find out!
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Salary: $2.7 million
ESS-EE-SEE SPENDIN YALL. Yeah, moving to the SEC is tough, although I'm pretty sure the numbers work out that Pinkel wouldn't have been on this list if he'd beaten Syracuse. Those at Rock M Nation discussed who could get fired after the worst year of Missouri football since 2004, and Pinkel's name wasn't really even on the list, so nobody is too up in arms that the coach will be back for a 13th season in charge next year.
How he balls: We know exactly how Gary Pinkel balls.
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Salary: $2.254 million
I know what you're thinking: someone gets paid $2.25 million to coach Wake Forest football? At first, I felt bad for thinking that. You see, I went to Northwestern, so I know what it feels like when big, bad football people say its cute that Northwestern plays football too, especially since Northwestern kinda wins football games. But no, Wake Forest fans are totally confused by this too, and think it might be time for change after four straight losing seasons, although Grobe will likely be back for year No. 13.
How he balls: Built house next door to Jimbo Fisher's. It is one inch taller than Fisher's, by design.
Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Salary: $2 million
Last, but not least, a perfectly reasonable Whittingham. Five wins after swapping into the Pac-12 isn't so bad, but nine coaches woulda made a bummer of a list. Anyway, back to Whittingham: he received a contract boost amongst rumors he'd go elsewhere last season, and despite not making a bowl, Utah fans seem pretty happy to have him: 71 percent approve of the job he's doing after the season in a poll at Block U. STORM THE FIELD MUSS.
How he balls: Until 9:30 p.m. local time.
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