Deadspin Presents the most overpaid and underpaid coaches in college football: Vol. 1, The Fat Cats

Deadspin Presents the most overpaid and underpaid coaches in college football: Vol. 1, The Fat Cats

Yes, Jim Harbaugh, you’re on this list until you win a big game.
Yes, Jim Harbaugh, you’re on this list until you win a big game.
Image: (Getty Images)

Earlier this week USA Today released its comprehensive list of college football coaches’ salaries for this season.

We decided to take a look at this list and break down the most overpaid and underpaid coaches in college football for the 2020 season.

Salary calculations are based on the total amount of resources that the individual received for the year including base pay, bonuses, and insurance policies.

In response to the pandemic, some of these coaches’ salaries include pay cuts to help keep athletic programs afloat, these pay cuts were included in the total salary calculations.

Let’s get into it. We begin with Volume 1, The Fat Cats:

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Ed Orgeron, LSU: $8.9 Million

Ed Orgeron, LSU: $8.9 Million

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Yes, LSU won the National Championship last season which prompted Orgeron’s massive contract extension that made him the second-highest-paid football coach in the nation behind Alabama’s Nick Saban. However, you have to be a fool to not see that LSU’s success was predicated on two people last season, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, and former passing game coordinator Joe Brady. Those two set a myriad of offensive records and were the most integral pieces that helped the Tigers go undefeated and win a championship. Brady is now an offensive coordinator in the NFL and his former star quarterback is off to a stellar start with the Bengals. Let’s just look at the start of the 2020 season, LSU is already 1-2 having lost to traditional underachievers Missouri and Mississippi State. If you eliminate the 15-0 season from Orgeron’s resume he only has a 70 percent winning percentage at LSU. In comparison to other coaches getting top dollar at their current universities like Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Sweeney, Orgeron trails both star coaches in overall winning percentage by more than 11 percentage points. This is not to mention his horrendous 28 percent winning percentage as head coach of Ole Miss. While loved in the bayou for his accent and engaging personality, he is not a top-three coach in college football and shouldn’t be paid as such.

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3 / 7

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: $8 Million

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: $8 Million

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Harbaugh ranks fourth in total pay among all collegiate coaches while he continues to be embarrassed by arch-rival Ohio State every November and has only won one bowl win in his tenure at Michigan, and that was back in 2015 Harbaugh has never taken the Wolverines to a Big Ten title game let alone a College Football Playoff game. When you take a job with the level of prestige that comes with being head coach in Ann Arbor you understand that the bar is going to be set high, and honestly Harbaugh just hasn’t lived up to the expectations of being a top-five paid coach. While he has a 72 percent winning percentage at Michigan, he is 10-14 against AP-ranked opponents and a 2-12 record against top-10 teams. If you can’t win big games then you aren’t a big-time coach, and you shouldn’t get big-time loot. It’s that simple.

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4 / 7

Gary Patterson, TCU: $6.1 Million

Gary Patterson, TCU: $6.1 Million

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Patterson has coached at TCU for 21 seasons and has only had two New Year’s Six bowl wins in his career. Since TCU joined the Big 12, he has only won one conference title and has failed to win over 8 games in 5 of the last 8 seasons. He’s only 39-34 in Big 12 play since joining the conference and is 1-8 against Oklahoma. Patterson is 0-4 against current Sooners coach Lincoln Riley. And he also had to apologize earlier this year for saying the N-word during a team meeting.

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5 / 7

Dan Mullen, Florida: $6 Million

Dan Mullen, Florida: $6 Million

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Florida hasn’t struck fear in the SEC East since Dan Mullen’s days as Tim Tebow’s offensive coordinator down. Now Mullen is back as head coach, trying to return Florida to those heights, but just can’t seem to win enough big games to do so. Mullen has failed to beat arch-rival Georgia since arriving at Florida, and has squandered very talented defenses by allowing inept offenses to stink up the joint the last two seasons. Mullen who is known for his “offensive mastery” ranked in the middle of the pack of the conference in total offense in 2018 as it lost to two traditional SEC bottom dwellers in Kentucky and Missouri. His record as a head coach at Mississippi State is even less impressive. He produced only one 10-win season in 8 years and won just 60 percent of his games. He also clearly wants 90,000 people to be screaming over top of each other in the middle of a pandemic. He’s getting paid like a top-ten coach in the game, he needs to start producing like it.

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6 / 7

Mark Stoops, Kentucky: $5 Million

Mark Stoops, Kentucky: $5 Million

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Stoops is the 15th highest-paid college football coach in the country this year. However, the Kentucky Wildcats are only 45-46 under Stoops’ leadership and have compiled at least 8 wins in a season only twice in his eight-year tenure. He’s only qualified for a bowl game four times since taking over in Lexington and doesn’t even have a winning record in these games (2-2). Expectations for Kentucky football are low so I understand how Stoops has gotten away with his lack of production. Yet, 45-46 as a head coach doesn’t equate to getting $5 million a year from any school.

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