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NCAA

How much money do NCAA football coaches make?

Big university sports mean big money, and none more so than Brian Kelly at LSU, who's new deal makes him one of the highest paid coaches in history

Update:
Dec 1, 2021; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Newly named LSU Tigers head football coach Brian Kelly (middle) is presented with an LSU jersey by University president William F. Tate IV (left) and athletic director Scott Woodward( right) during a press conference at
Patrick DennisUSA TODAY Sports

The appointment of Brian Kelly as the new head football coach at LSU has been the culmination of a soap-opera worthy saga, and it has inflamed tempers all over the country.

Universally beloved native son Ed Orgeron has been unceremoniously dismissed by the university not for losing, but for not winning enough. Two years after the Tigers won the National Championship, the SEC, and the Heisman Trophy all in the same year, good enough is just not good enough. To replace the Cajun juggernaut, LSU has brought in Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. If bringing in someone from a rival program was not enough to perk up interest in the state, the price tag certainly did. Kelly has signed a contract offering him $100 million over ten years. This will make him either the highest or the second highest paid coach in NCAA history. Lincoln Riley at USC is reported to have a contract worth $110 million, although this has not yet been confirmed.

All of this is just too much for some. Louisiana Public Service Commission member Foster Campbell went on the local radio to discuss the state of college athletics.

“That’s way too much money! I think it’s got out of hand. I don’t think anybody is worth ten million dollars a year to coach football! I think we put too much emphasis on football and not enough on academics.”

“I think it’s crazy,” says Campbell, “and somebody ought to be saying something about it. And if everybody thinks that football is more important than the classroom, I don’t agree.”

The real concern for people who have a mind like Foster Campbell is that Kelly is not an outlier. While the zeroes on the end of his paycheck are incredible, the club that he is in is wholly uninteresting. In 39 states, the highest paid public employee is a college coach. Not the governor, not a supreme court justice. A coach.

All 50 states’ highest paid public employee, according to USAToday.

Alabama

  • Highest paid public employee: Nick Saban; University of Alabama football coach
  • Annual salary: $8,857,000

Alaska

  • Highest paid public employee: Angela M. Rodell; Alaska Department of Revenue executive director
  • Annual salary: $371,475

Arizona

  • Highest paid public employee: Herm Edwards; Arizona State University football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,380,000

Arkansas

  • Highest paid public employee: Chad Morris; University of Arkansas football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,000,000

California

  • Highest paid public employee: Chip Kelly; University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,500,000

Colorado

  • Highest paid public employee: Mel Tucker; University of Colorado football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,400,000

Connecticut

  • Highest paid public employee: Randy Edsall; University of Connecticut football coach
  • Annual salary: $1,606,000

Delaware

  • Highest paid public employee: Kathleen M. Picciano; Thoroughbred Racing Commission doctor of veterinary medicine
  • Annual salary: $477,572

Florida

  • Highest paid public employee: Dan Mullen; University of Florida football coach
  • Annual salary: $6,070,000

Georgia

  • Highest paid public employee: Kirby Smart; University of Georgia football coach
  • Annual salary: $6,871,600

Hawaii

  • Highest paid public employee: Nick Rolovich; University of Hawaii football coach
  • Annual salary: $600,004

Idaho

  • Highest paid public employee: Bryan Harsin; Boise State University football coach
  • Annual salary: $1,750,000

Illinois

  • Highest paid public employee: Lovie Smith; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,000,000

Indiana

  • Highest paid public employee: Jeff Brohm; Purdue University football coach
  • Annual salary: $6,600,000

Iowa

  • Highest paid public employee: Kirk Ferentz; University of Iowa football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,800,000

Kansas

  • Highest paid public employee: Les Miles; University of Kansas football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,775,000

Kentucky

  • Highest paid public employee: Mark Stoops; University of Kentucky football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,763,600

Louisiana

  • Highest paid public employee: Brian Kelly; Louisiana State University football coach
  • Annual salary: $9,750,000

Maine

  • Highest paid public employee: Matthew J. Davis; Department of Health and Human Services - Riverview Psychiatric Center clinical director
  • Annual salary: $318,237

Maryland

  • Highest paid public employee: Mike Locksley; University of Maryland football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,500,000

Massachusetts

  • Highest paid public employee: Michael Green; University of Massachusetts Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology chair
  • Annual salary: $721,383

Michigan

  • Highest paid public employee: Jim Harbaugh; University of Michigan football coach
  • Annual salary: $7,504,000

Minnesota

  • Highest paid public employee: P.J. Fleck; University of Minnesota football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,600,000

Mississippi

  • Highest paid public employee: Matt Luke; University of Mississippi football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,100,000

Missouri

  • Highest paid public employee: Barry Odom; University of Missouri football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,050,000

Montana

  • Highest paid public employee: Benjamin Todd Eastham; Department Of Health And Human Services medical officer
  • Annual salary: $326,472

Nebraska

  • Highest paid public employee: Scott Frost; University of Nebraska-Lincoln football coach
  • Annual salary: $5,000,000

Nevada

  • Highest paid public employee: Tony Sanchez; University of Nevada Las Vegas football coach
  • Annual salary: $602,000

New Hampshire

  • Highest paid public employee: Jennie V. Duval; New Hampshire Department of Justice chief medical examiner
  • Annual salary: $210,000

New Jersey

  • Highest paid public employee: Chris Ash; Rutgers University football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,300,000

New Mexico

  • Highest paid public employee: Bob Davie; University of New Mexico football coach
  • Annual salary: $823,740

New York

  • Highest paid public employee: Lance Leipold; University at Buffalo football coach
  • Annual salary: $615,000

North Carolina

  • Highest paid public employee: Mack Brown; University of North Carolina football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,500,000

North Dakota

  • Highest paid public employee: Eduardo P. Yabut; North Dakota Department of Human Services physician
  • Annual salary: $533,544

Ohio

  • Highest paid public employee: Ryan Day; Ohio State football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,500,000

Oklahoma

  • Highest paid public employee: Lincoln Riley; University of Oklahoma football coach
  • Annual salary: $6,384,462

Oregon

  • Highest paid public employee: Mario Cristobal; University of Oregon football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,600,000

Pennsylvania

  • Highest paid public employee: James Franklin; The Pennsylvania State University football coach
  • Annual salary: $5,650,000

Rhode Island

  • Highest paid public employee: David M. Dooley; University of Rhode Island's president
  • Annual salary: $391,181

South Carolina

  • Highest paid public employee: William "Dabo" Swinney; Clemson University football coach
  • Annual salary: $9,315,600

South Dakota

  • Highest paid public employee: David A. Klopfenstein; Department Of Health And Human Services medical officer
  • Annual salary: $364,899

Tennessee

  • Highest paid public employee: Derek Mason; Vanderbilt University football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,368,244

Texas

  • Highest paid public employee: John James Fisher Jr.; Texas A&M University head football coach
  • Annual salary: $7,500,000

Utah

  • Highest paid public employee: Kyle Whittingham; University of Utah football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,002,917

Vermont

  • Highest paid public employee: Steven L Shapiro; Vermont Health Department chief medical examiner
  • Annual salary: $231,984

Virginia

  • Highest paid public employee: Justin Fuente; Virginia Tech football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,000,000

Washington

  • Highest paid public employee: Chris Petersen; University of Washington football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,625,000

West Virginia

  • Highest paid public employee: Neal Brown; West Virginia University football coach
  • Annual salary: $3,055,000

Wisconsin

  • Highest paid public employee: Paul Chryst; University of Wisconsin football coach
  • Annual salary: $4,150,000

Wyoming

  • Highest paid public employee: Craig Bohl; University of Wyoming football coach
  • Annual salary: $2,137,000
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