Mark Helfrich to make $1.8 million a year, will be seventh highest-paid head coach in the conference

Mark Helfrich cracks a smile during the question-and-answer period with the media on his announcement as new head coach for Oregon's football team. (Mason Trinca/Emerald)

Mark Helfrich cracks a smile during the question-and-answer period with the media on his announcement as new head coach for Oregon's football team. (Mason Trinca/Emerald)

Posted by Matt Walks on Monday, Jan. 21 at 10:41 am.

The University released its contract with new Oregon football head coach Mark Helfrich on Sunday, illustrating the base pay for the first-year head coach and explaining all fringe benefits and performance incentives applicable over the life of the contract.

Helfrich will earn $1.8 million in each of the five years stipulated, making him the seventh highest-paid coach in the Pac-12 after Arizona State’s Todd Graham ($3 million), Washington’s Steve Sarkisian ($2.425 million), USC’s Lane Kiffin ($2.4 million), Washington State’s Mike Leach ($2.25 million) and UCLA’s Jim Mora and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham ($2 million each). Before leaving for Philadelphia, Chip Kelly was making $3.5 million in salary, tops in the conference.

Like Kelly, Helfrich will also earn fringe benefits, such as two courtesy cars and a membership to the Eugene Country Club. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for Helfrich to make bonus money is through performance incentives. Per the contract:

Bowl Participation
National Championship Game: $150,000
Playoff/Final Four: $125,000
Rose Bowl/BCS At-Large Bowl: $100,000
NON-BCS Bowl: $50,000

Other Performance Incentives:
Win National Championship: $250,000
Win Pac-12 Championship: $100,000
Win Pac-12 North Division: $50,000
AP National Coach of the Year: $25,000
Final AP Ranking 1-10: $60,000
12 Wins in Regular Season: $200,000

Further incentives include a GPA payment. If the Ducks, as a team, earn a 3.00 GPA or higher, Helfrich earns another $100,000.

Should Helfrich go the route of Kelly and terminate the contract for a coaching opportunity somewhere else (or for any other reason), Helfrich’s buyout — the amount he will owe the University — will decrease each year, starting at $3 million.

Meanwhile, sources are reporting Kelly’s new deal in Philadelphia is worth $32.5 million over the same five-year span.



  • Ragingbullrb

    Tedford got fired a long time ago.and I’m pretty sure almost every coach makes more than that with the exception of mike Riley. I think your numbers are old. USC doesn’t release numbers but Kiffin makes more.

  • Matt Walks

    Ragingbullrb — You’re absolutely right. I was using old numbers, and I clearly wasn’t paying attention — otherwise I would’ve realized Tedford was gone.

    Here’s the site I used for the updated numbers: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2012/11/19/ncaa-college-football-head-coach-salary-database/1715543/

    It still lists Tedford, but the rest of the conference seems legitimate.

    Thanks for pointing out the error to me. Do you want a job as a copy editor? :)