Ducks, Inc.: Is Chip Kelly the most underpaid coach in college football?

(Aaron Marineau/Emerald Archives)

(Aaron Marineau/Emerald Archives)

Posted by Sam Stites on Monday, Dec. 17 at 10:03 pm.

In November USA Today reported that the average annual salary of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches this year is $1.64 million, a 12 percent increase from the previous year and a 70 percent increase from 2006.

SEC coaches lead the pack with annual salaries of $5.62 million for Bama’s Nick Saban and $3.751 million for LSU’s Les Miles. Both received extensions this year. Earlier this month, Miles turned down a $27.5 million offer from the 2-6 Arkansas Razorbacks that would have equated to Saban’s $5.5 million. Obviously, LSU showed Miles the money in his contract extension and guaranteed salary raise. Wisconsin, however — set to play in their third-consecutive Rose Bowl — lost head coach Bret Bielema to Arkansas for a $19.2 million contract over six years, which equates to $3.2 million a year.

Texas’ Mack Brown trails Saban at just over $5.4 million per year. Big-12 Champion and Oregon’s Fiesta Bowl counterpart, Kansas State, pays their coach Bill Snyder just $2.2 million annually, but hey, at least his name’s on the stadium.

Chip Kelly’s contract is good through 2016 and guarantees him $3.5 million this year plus $50,000 in bonuses for making it to the Glendale. If he decides to stay and he doesn’t receive a raise and extension, his compensation will rise by $300,000 next year and again by $200,000 the next year — for an annual salary of $4 million in the final two years of his contract.

It’d be a safe bet that Oregon will be willing to shell out more cash for Kelly’s services if he decides to forgo the NFL. With four BCS games in as many seasons, a national championship appearance, three conference titles and a Walter Camp Coach of the Year award on top of a combined record of 45-7, he is quite possibly the most underpaid coach in college football.

The market drives the price, and it’s currently a seller’s market. We can only expect these trends to continue.

In comparison to the NFL, college football still lags behind, as it should. According to Forbes, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick sits at the top making approximately $7.5 million per year, closely followed by Washington Redskin’s head coach Mike Shanahan and former USC head coach now at the Seahawks, Pete Carroll.

Jim Harbaugh, the other former Pac-12 coach making a splash in the NFL is estimated to receive a cushy $5 million per year in San Francisco. That’s pretty good considering 2 years out of Stanford, and older brother John makes only about $4 million annually with the Ravens.

  • UO Matters

    Harbaugh is worth every dime. Same with his brother.

    But college football coaches would make far less, except the NCAA cartel keeps the players from getting paid, allowing the coaches to capture almost all the extraordinary economic profits.

  • Bradley Crenshaw

    The colleges have to pay that kind of money or the coaches would go to the NFL.

  • bob

    Kelly needs to stay