Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron are the two highest-paid college football coaches in 2020

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

A national championship has made Ed Orgeron the second-highest paid college football coach in 2020.

The contract extension Orgeron signed after LSU went undefeated and won the 2019 national title will pay him nearly $9 million in 2020, according to USA Today’s coaching salary database. Alabama coach Nick Saban is the only coach who has more total compensation in 2020 than Orgeron.

Saban’s total compensation is $9.3 million in 2020. Orgeron is at $8.9 million in total pay.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is third and is followed by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher. You can view the database in full here.

Orgeron is the only coach in the top five whose team has a losing record so far this season. The Tigers are 1-2 after losses to Mississippi State and Missouri. Both Alabama and Clemson are undefeated and Texas A&M is 2-1 after beating Florida days ago. Michigan’s season hasn’t started yet.

Five of the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country are from the SEC. Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Florida’s Dan Mullen also have salaries that put them in the top 10.

The Pac-12 is the only Power Five conference that does not have a coach in the top 10 in 2020 compensation. David Shaw is the conference’s highest-paid coach at $4.8 million in total pay in 2020. That ranks No. 18 and just behind Nebraska coach Scott Frost. The Huskers are yet to post a winning record in Frost’s tenure.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker is the highest-paid coach among coaches who are in their first years at their current schools. Tucker’s total compensation is just over $5 million. He’s ahead of Mississippi State’s Mike Leach ($5 million) and Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz ($3.9 million).

The contract figures in the database include any applicable pay cuts that coaches took in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Penn State’s James Franklin (a scheduled salary of $6.7 million) and Jeff Brohm ($4.8 million) are not listed in the chart because their total compensation figures are not listed. Neither are coaches at private schools like Boston College, Miami and others.

The lowest-paid coach in college football on the chart is Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell. His compensation is just under $320,000 in 2020 after a $56,000 pay cut because of the pandemic. A total of 37 head coaches at the top level of college football are set to make less than $1 million in 2020.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron heads to the field with his team before the start an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
LSU coach Ed Orgeron is the second-highest paid coach in college football. His team is 1-2 so far in 2020. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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