Saturday 30/05/2020 - 08:25 pm

Jim Harbaugh Headlines USA Today List of College Football"s Highest-Paid Coaches

2016.10.26 10:05

Jim Harbaugh has taken the University of Michigans football team from a laughingstock to a national title contender in just two seasons, and according to a list released by USA Today on Wednesday, he is being compensated handsomely as the highest-paid coach in college football.

Harbaugh is making $9,004,000 this season, which dwarfs what Alabama pays Nick Saban by more than $2 million. Here is a rundown of the top 10, courtesy of USA Today:

College Footballs Highest-Paid Coaches
Rank Coach School 2016 Salary
1 Jim Harbaugh Michigan $9,004,000
2 Nick Saban Alabama $6,939,395
3 Urban Meyer Ohio State $6,094,800
4 Bob Stoops Oklahoma $5,550,000
5 Jimbo Fisher Florida State $5,250,000
6 Charlie Strong Texas $5,200,130
7 Kevin Sumlin Texas A&M $5,000,000
8 Gus Malzahn Auburn $4,729,500
9 Hugh Freeze Ole Miss $4,703,500
T10 James Franklin Penn State $4,500,000
T10 Kirk Ferentz Iowa $4,500,000

USA Today

The Wolverines are ranked No. 2 in the nation behind the Crimson Tide at 7-0, and they are in line to make their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.


Harbaugh is 17-3 in two seasons as the head man at his alma mater after parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers despite leading them to a pair of NFC Championship Game appearances as well as a Super Bowl berth.

As Bleacher Reports Matt Hayes pointed out, Harbaugh has been a worthwhile investment for the Wolverines:

Harbaugh is respected for what he has done for a program that went 5-7 the season prior to his arrival. Even Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is impressed with his accomplishments, per Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press: "I think coach Harbaugh has done a tremendous job there, obviously. Probably truly one of the best coaches maybe that have come through -- whether its college coaching or in the NFL -- in past years. Obviously, very well-established, and hes got things going down there." 

While Harbaugh is still pursuing his first national title, the rest of the coaches in the top five have already reached the mountain peak, as Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher have led their teams to championships.

Only Auburns Gus Malzahn has done so through the remainder of the top 10, while Texas Charlie Strong is on the hot seat despite being the sixth-highest paid coach in the nation.

Coaching salaries have skyrocketed in college football over the past decade, as evidenced by this stat courtesy of CBSSports.coms Jon Solomon:

Doling out millions is worth it at a winning program due to the money and fame that success generates, so it stands to reason that Harbaugh is making Michigans decision-makers look brilliant.

He has a major obstacle in the form of Ohio State and Meyer standing between him and both a Big Ten Championship and CFP appearance this season on Nov. 26, but it represents a golden opportunity for Harbaugh to show why he is No. 1 on the list and ahead of Meyer at No. 3.

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