How many new head coaches will be paid more than their predecessor?

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday February 23, 2017

How much does a new coach cost, and how much more are schools willing to pay?

There were 21 FBS head coaching changes this offseason. Of the 19 publicly-available salaries, only nine schools will pay their new coach more than the previous coach. Last year, 10 of 22 new public coaches made more than the previous coach.

Of the 19 public salaries, 14 schools dismissed their head coach. Of those 14, eight will pay the new coach more. Of the five that lost their coach to another job, only Temple will pay the new coach more, though WMU and Western Kentucky are about even.

* Matt Rhule’s listed salary at Temple for 2016 was $1 million, but reports indicated it may have actually been more than $1.5 million.

** Charlie Strong’s USF salary is low because of how much he’s owed in buyout from Texas. His USf salary is $1 million for the first two years, before jumping to $2.5 million.

***Art Briles made more than $5 million in 2014 in the most-recent available numbers. Baylor is a private school, so Rhule’s contract details don’t have to be released, but it’s hard to imagine Baylor is paying him anything close to that.

Tom Allen’s salary at Indiana hasn’t been released yet, but it’s unlikely to be more than Kevin Wilson was paid. The same goes for Justin Wilcox at Cal, but reports indicate it’s expected between $1-2 million, which is less than Sonny Dykes.

Some of these salaries aren’t surprising. Tom Herman was the highest-paid Group of 5 coach at Houston. Major Applewhite will earn half as much, and also has an incredibly school-friendly contract, which includes buyout terms like Applewhite paying buyout for assistants who aren’t retained at UH if Applewhite takes another job. After losing Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin and Herman to Power 5 schools, Houston wanted a coach who will stay around (as long as he wins).

LSU’s decision to promote Ed Orgeron to the full-time head coaching job saved money on him, and led to more money for assistants. Dave Aranda will make $1.8 million next season, the highest-paid assistant in college football history, and Matt Canada will make $1.5 million.

Purdue made a huge investment with Jeff Brohm. Not only will he make much more than Darrell Hazell did, but the assistant salary pool also increased by $1 million, to $3.5 million. At Cincinnati, Luke Fickell's 2017 salary will be less than Tommy Tuberville, but annual raises will push it higher later in the deal. At UConn, Randy Edsall will make less than he did at UConn in 2010, and incentives only increase it by another $100,000. He also has $300,000 retention bonus on Dec. 1, 2019, and another $200,000 two years later.

The two Conference USA schools in Florida made huge investments. Both Lane Kiffin and Butch Davis will make much more than their predecessors.

Of the 21 changes, 16 have 5-year contracts. Mike Sanford at Western Kentucky only has a 4-year deal, while Matt Rhule got a 7-year deal, as the school needed to show commitment to a coach, coming out of the sexual assault scandal.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to