As college sports become more and more of a big business, schools are being forced to pay up when it comes to coaches' salaries. Some schools are following the trend of skyrocketing pay with varying results, but others have found ways to avoid paying up while still field winning programs.
With so much coaching pay disparity among the power five schools -- Nick Saban's about to start making almost $7 million, while a few make around a million -- we decided to take a look at which schools got the best values out of their football coaches last year. That is, which coach cost the least per win — using the USA Today salary database. Somewhat surprisingly, Rutgers coach Kyle Flood cost the least per victory in 2013, riding an $860,000 salary to six wins.
Flood's salary is closer to the American Athletic Conference's standard than the Big Ten's, the Scarlet Knights' new conference. However, the top three values all came from Big Ten programs, as Flood was followed by Minnesota's Jerry Kill and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio (who got a hefty raise). But the conference still has some very high salaries, trailing the Pac-12 and the ACC in median money spent per win.
|Conference||Money per win|
It's important to remember that this is a fun exercise, and "best value" as defined here isn't necessarily what an athletic department should be going for. For Rutgers, which has faced major financial difficulties, finding a value like they have with Flood is a reasonable goal.
And schools like Cal and Purdue should take solace. Both paid over $2,000,000 per win in 2013, but were facing rebuilding years. If either rebuilding project goes as planned, Sonny Dykes and Darrell Hazell will give their schools far more value in the future.
However, a school like Alabama, which has all the money it could ever need, gets more value out of winning than it could out of saving money on Nick Saban's salary. It's logical for programs like the Tide to be willing to spend more money per win than Rutgers. The same logic is true for Iowa, which continually catches flack for paying head coach Kirk Ferentz so much for eight-win seasons. However, the Hawkeyes have a lot of money, and it might be difficult to get another good coach to the desolate recruiting grounds of the Upper Midwest, so paying Ferentz so much to keep him in Iowa City might be worth it.
With those caveats in mind, check out all of the power five schools' coaching values below. (Remember: Private schools are not required to report their coaches' salaries, so some schools are omitted.)
|School||Coach||Salary||Wins||$ per Win|
|Florida State||Jimbo Fisher||$2,750,000||14||$196,429|
|North Carolina||Larry Fedora||$1,730,000||7||$247,143|
|Virginia Tech||Frank Beamer||$2,491,616||8||$311,452|
|Georgia Tech||Paul Johnson||$2,515,500||7||$359,357|
|Wake Forest||Jim Grobe||$2,251,635||4||$562,909|
|NC State||Dave Doeren||$2,555,000||3||$851,667|
|Boston College||Steve Addazio||-||-||-|
|Michigan State||Mark Dantonio||$1,959,744||13||$150,750|
|Ohio State||Urban Meyer||$4,608,000||12||$384,000|
|Penn State||Bill O'Brien||$3,282,779||7||$468,968|
|Big Ten median||$357,278|
|Texas Tech||Kliff Kingsbury||$1,855,000||8||$231,875|
|Oklahoma State||Mike Gundy||$3,450,000||10||$345,000|
|Kansas State||Bill Snyder||$2,803,000||8||$350,375|
|Iowa State||Paul Rhoads||$1,712,282||3||$570,761|
|West Virginia||Dana Holgorsen||$2,630,000||4||$657,500|
|Big 12 median||$506,289|
|Oregon State||Mike Riley||$1,417,843||7||$202,549|
|Arizona State||Todd Graham||$2,300,000||10||$230,000|
|Washington State||Mike Leach||$2,250,000||6||$375,000|
|South Carolina||Steve Spurrier||$3,322,500||11||$302,045|
|Texas A&M||Kevin Sumlin||$3,100,300||9||$344,478|
|Mississippi State||Dan Mullen||$2,700,000||7||$385,714|