USA Today has released the salaries for the college football coaches in the 2013 season. For obvious reasons, Nick Saban and his $5.5 million annual pay tops the list. For three national titles in four years, yea I’d say he’s worth it. As you make your way down the list names of the usual suspects pop up – Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Brady Hoke, Steve Spurrier. Then, down at #15 is Tommy Tuberville at basically $3.1 million, placing him among the highest paid coaches in the SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten.
Now wait a minute? Didn’t we hear that Cincinnati is paying him “only”* $2.2 million? Well yes, he’s making about $2.2 million this season. The reason USA Today’s number is so high is because, according to the fine print, they are rolling up $943,000 from Butch Jones’ buyout when he left for Tennessee under Tuberville’s total salary. That’s how UC is reporting it although it’s unclear if the Bearcats’ head coach will see a dime of that extra money.
*I put this in quotes because got-damn $2.2 million is still a boatload of cash!
Regardless, Tommy Tuberville is making at a bare minimum $2.2 million this season. Even at that figure it would place the UC head coach among the highest-third salaries in college football. That’s a far cry from the pre-Tuberville era when Brian Kelly and Butch Jones were making almost $1 million less than that. Plus within the AAC, Tuberville’s salary ranks second behind Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. When the Cardinals leave for the ACC, the UC head coach will very likely pace the conference.
Finally, this is important on a macro level. While Whit Babcock can’t lock up a coach and chain him to his desk in the Lindner Center, setting the bar so high will make it more difficult for other programs to pluck UC football coaches in the future. Needless to say that’s been a major issue for Cincinnati football over the last decade.