Bonuses for college football coaches soar to new heights; Harbaugh sets record with haul


With Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh outdoing himself as the Wolverines marched to the College Football Playoff national championship, college football head coaches at Bowl Subdivision public schools this season claimed just over $15.5 million in bonuses, according to tracking by USA TODAY Sports based on contracts acquired through open-records requests.

In addition, 14 coaches reached goals this season that were set to result in automatic contract extensions scheduled to be worth a combined $58.7 million. Three of those coaches have ended up moving to new jobs: Jonathan Smith to Michigan State from Oregon State; Curt Cignetti to Indiana from James Madison; and Jon Sumrall to Tulane from Troy.

Harbaugh led the bonus totals with $3 million — by far the largest single-season haul since USA TODAY Sports began tracking these amounts in 2019. Harbaugh claimed $2.225 million in 2021, although he redirected about $1.5 million of his bonus money to members of the Michigan athletics department who had taken pandemic-related pay cuts during an 11-month stretch of 2020 and 2021 and had remained on the payroll. He picked up $2.2 million last season.

The next-highest season total is the $1.775 million that Ed Orgeron attained when LSU won the CFP title in 2019.

The coaches’ combined total of just over $15.5 million also establishes a new benchmark. To give that number some perspective, there were 46 Division I public schools that spent less than that on their entire athletics programs in fiscal 2022, the last year for which the schools’ annual financial reports to the NCAA are available. USA TODAY collects those documents in partnership with the Knight-Newhouse Data project at Syracuse University.

Adding it up for Harbaugh

Harbaugh’s basic pay from Michigan for this season is $8.2 million.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh…

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Author : USA TODAY Sports

Publish date : 2024-01-09 13:02:01

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