It Pays To Be A Coach In The PAC-12

To add insult to injury, 92% of the coaches make more money than the average NFL contract.

While many student-athletes struggle to cover all their expenses with their scholarships, there are coaches who can afford to purchase a new Ferrari annually. Fans of college football have been complaining for decades regarding the payment of coaches and the exuberant salary they make. While Alabama’s Nick Saban can rack in a hefty sum of $11 million, the PAC-12 doesn’t come close to nearing that mark.

Based on 2017 salary reports, all coaches in the PAC-12 were making at least $1.6 million per season and half of the field was in the top 25 for highest paid coaches. While Jim Mora saw the ax after the 2017 season, he was still able to rack in a respectable $3.5 million, putting him at 25 on the USA Today salary list.

Pac-12 Salaries 2017: Results published by


Based on current trends, and an insert of new head coach Chip Kelly of UCLA and an estimated guess of USC’s Clay Helton, it shows that you get what you paid for. With the exception of one year, each PAC-12 champion was ranked in the top 10. With David Shaw having the most appearances in the PAC-12 Championship, it makes sense that he would command one of the highest salaries in the conference. Washington’s Chris Petersen, UCLA’s Chip Kelly, and USC’s Clay Helton have a chip or two under their belt as well. UCLA is hoping the high pay will equate to championship contender once again. Only Cal, Oregon State, Utah, and Washington State have not made it to the championship. Respectfully, nearly all coaches are paid in the bottom half of the conference, with Oregon State and Cal rounding out 11 and 12.

PAC-12 Championship Results

To add insult to injury, 92% of the coaches make more money than the average NFL contract. According to Aric Jenkins, the average NFL salary is $2.1 million. In the PAC-12, the average salary, with estimated salaries of Chip Kelly and Clay Helton, coaches make an average of almost $3.6 million. Using base salary alone, the average PAC-12 coach is paid more all but 5 players on the Seattle Seahawks roster. If we include cap hit, the number changes from 5 to 6.

So if you’re thinking of becoming a star in football, it may pay to be a coach. Yes, the stardom comes from being the athlete. But coaching does not punish the body the same way. But know that the top coaches can demand the salary they get for a reason. They may not always get a college football championship, but they do put their team in a position to earn one.