Football Sports

College sports coaching includes Texas-sized salaries


The salaries for coaches is on the rise, especially in Texas, and Tom Herman became a benefactor of that with his transition to Houston. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

When it comes to revenue from athletics, no school in Texas compares to the monster that is UT, which, according to USA Today, brought in over $161 million in 2014 and over $40 million more than the next closest, Texas A&M.

With these high revenues comes the ability to have the best facilities, the best trainers and equipment and ultimately hire the more prestigious and expensive coaches on the market. More prominent coaches come with better recruits, better teams and better programs that ultimately can expand the school’s brand and bring in more money.

In recent history, there are no bigger college sports dynasties than the ones led by Alabama’s Nick Saban in football and Kentucky’s John Calipari in basketball. Not surprisingly, they are also the two highest paid coaches in each sport and as the Jim Harbaugh situation showed, schools will stop at nothing to hire the coach they think can turn their program around.

Unlike UT and A&M, and the private schools with deep pockets, Houston’s athletic revenue is not in the top tier of division one schools and ranks in the bottom of the state when it comes to paying coaches.


Following A&M was Texas Tech with $76 million and Houston in fourth for public schools in the state with a $40 million revenue for 2014. These high numbers, in addition to the large private schools of Baylor, Texas Christian, Southern Methodist and Rice allow the state to hire a lot of high quality and high priced coaches, and it shows as four of the top 22 highest paid coaches in football work in Texas.

While they can’t compare to the over $7 million Alabama is paying Nick Saban annually, both UT with Charlie Strong and A&M with Kevin Sumlin pay their coaches $5 million, tying for fourth highest in the country with Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. TCU’s Gary Patterson is third in the state at $4 million and Baylor’s Art Briles closes out the top tier with $3.3 million, the 22nd highest paid in the country.

Following Briles are Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury ($2.65 million), SMU’s Chad Morris ($2 million) and Houston’s Tom Herman at $1.35 million, good enough for seventh highest in the state and 65th highest in the country. Rice’s David Bailiff is the only coach making less than $1 million of those making $780,000 annually.


Predictably, when it comes to football, the public schools with the highest revenues paid their coaches the most, with Houston at the bottom in both categories. Men’s basketball, not the driving force football is, also doesn’t pay coaches as much.

Unlike football, Baylor’s Scott Drew is the only coach from Texas in the top two highest paid coaches, but his $2.5 million doesn’t come remotely close to the $6.3 million the University of Kentucky is paying John Calipari. SMU and Tech follow Baylor paying former national champions Larry Brown and Tubby Smith $1.9 million and $1.8 million respectively.

After the departure of longtime coach Rick Barnes, UT’s new hire of Shaka Smart is next at $1.2 million, tying TCU’s Trent Johnson for fourth highest in the state. Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy follows at $1 million and the lowest and only coach under $1 million is Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, who has a base salary of $500,000, but incentives could push it over $1 million.

A large reason why UT and A&M are so far ahead of the rest of the state is because of the Longhorn Network and SEC Network which, according to ESPN, pay each school $15 million and $41.3 million respectively. These TV deals not only bring in more money but also give the school a dedicated place to expand their brand, leading to more ticket sales, more memorabilia sales and higher revenues overall.

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