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Saban to become one of highest-paid coaches in any U.S. sport

LSU v Alabama Getty Images

Money likely wasn’t an overriding factor for Nick Saban, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

As you may have heard by now, Alabama announced Friday night that it had reached an agreement with Saban on a contract extension that ended rumors of a move to Austin.  While the financial particulars were not released, various reports pegged the deal to be worth between $7 and $7.5 million a year.

As Saban’s previous yearly salary of just over $5.5 million served as the high-water mark for college football coaches, he merely stretched the gap between himself and the second highest-paid college coach — Texas’ Mack Brown at just over $5.4 million in 2013 — with the extension.  The extension does, though, push him into the ranks of the highest-paid coach of any American sports team.

By way of, and based on figures from, only New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton at $8 million annually would be clearly ahead of Saban’s reported future earnings.  If the new contract is at the high-end of the reports, Saban would equal the likes of NFL head coaches Bill Belichick (New England Patriots, and Saban’s former boss) and Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs).  If it’s at the low-end, Saban would equal the yearly earnings of three more NFL coaches — Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams)  and Mike Shanahan (Washington Redskins) — as well as an NBA coach — Doc Rivers (Los Angeles Clippers).

In a slight oversight on the website’s part, Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski also made in the neighborhood of $7.2 million in 2013 according to

Regardless of whether he’s (tied for) the second highest-paid coach in all of American sports or (tied for) the fifth highest-paid coach or somewhere in between, Saban’s success at Alabama plus the speculation surrounding UT’s interest served to make the head coach an even richer man in what he says will be the last coaching job of his career.

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21 Responses to “Saban to become one of highest-paid coaches in any U.S. sport”
  1. mrlaloosh says: Dec 14, 2013 6:24 PM

    Hey Nickie! I need a little “loan”. Come on Man!

  2. cometkazie says: Dec 14, 2013 6:30 PM

    He must be worth it!

  3. kdbroom says: Dec 14, 2013 6:59 PM

    His high salary is enabled by all of that free labor on his football team. Coaches are the ones financially benefitting from the NCAA’s refusal to pay players.

  4. apmn says: Dec 14, 2013 7:05 PM

    Saban is Roman Catholic. I wonder what Pope Francis would say?

  5. dcroz says: Dec 14, 2013 7:15 PM

    It would seem that Saban’s new salary is such as to scare off any future college programs trying to take him away…or NFL programs, for that matter.

  6. Deb says: Dec 14, 2013 7:19 PM

    @kdbroom …

    Saban is one of the few (maybe two?) NCAA coaches lobbying to compensate players for their “free labor.” We know from your posts of the last couple of days that you hate the guy, but he’s not responsible for the financial setup of NCAA sports. And it’s the institutions that profit most from those kids. Since Saban has increased Alabama’s revenues dramatically, he’s earned a big ol’ slab of that pie.

    I’m one of the few fans who favors playing players a stipend, letting them earn a percentage of merchandise sales, and letting them sell their own autographs if they want. Most fans seem to disagree with me. From your post, I take it you support paying players?

  7. halbert53 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:22 PM

    Having worked (sports information) in an athletic department six years and seeing first hand the long hours and stress coaches of all sports endure, I don’t begrudge Saban or anyone else their salary.

    That being said, if the only way the power conferences can give athletes fair market value compensation is to bolt the NCAA and form their separate organization, they ought to do so ASAP.

    The original concept of intercollegiate sports was for students at a university to represent that university in sports events. It was not to recruit athletes who ordinarily would not attend a university. In that sense Division III represents the purest form of the original concept. That ship has long sailed. If universities want big time sports programs they should compensate athletes accordingly.

  8. James McPherson says: Dec 14, 2013 8:15 PM

    Think what he’d be worth if he had recruited a kicker.

  9. charger383 says: Dec 14, 2013 9:49 PM

    Pay the man and Roll Tide

  10. huskersrock1 says: Dec 14, 2013 10:19 PM

    The big problem with paying players is title 9. You can’t just pay the football players, federal law states that you must pay the ladies that play sports too, if you do that you have to pay the guys that play non money sports too.

    Most athletic departments don’t make big money, and football generally subsidizes the non-money sports. If you start paying players only the top 20-30 universities could handle it financially, the rest would be required to drop to a different level or drop sports all together.

  11. James McPherson says: Dec 15, 2013 1:24 AM

    Actually, even with football, the vast majority of athletic programs lose money:

  12. billsboy88 says: Dec 15, 2013 1:37 AM

    Make your tuition checks out to Saban, cuts out the middle man

  13. James McPherson says: Dec 15, 2013 2:07 AM

    Indeed, billsboy; even at the low end of the estimate, Saban’s new contract would cover tuition, room, board and books for more than 600 Alabama students.

  14. therealzeitgeist says: Dec 15, 2013 2:12 AM

    I generally don’t agree with paying players and I generally don’t agree with coaches making anything like Saban’s payroll at the amateur level. Doing it for love of the game and the kids whatever. For pro money people should go pro, including the coaches.

    Do the top college coaches make some scratch? Sure, maybe even what the college President makes if the coach is real good; a treasured institution etc. But typical college president makes about one sixteenth what Saban gets. Something’s wrong in the financial DNA of collegiate sports if amateur coaches get that much $$$.

  15. cometkazie says: Dec 15, 2013 9:33 AM

    billsboy88 says:
    Dec 15, 2013 1:37 AM
    Make your tuition checks out to Saban, cuts out the middle man
    The Alabama AD is self-supporting.

    No tuition money goes to football coaches’ salaries.

  16. dhardy8207 says: Dec 15, 2013 9:56 AM

    Attn: Paging the following bloggers:


    And all the rest that have been flapping for days if not weeks that “Saban was leaving for Texas”, “Its a done deal”, “Get ready Bama fans he’s gone”, “BAMA is going to loose him for the BIG $$$$ of Texas”.

    For all the “know it all” critics of Saban who have continuously hounded this man with all your certainty on the situation. All the “inside tips” you had talking to someone over the Thanksgiving Holiday who is a friend of someone who knows a UT Regent that eased dropped on Mack’s conversation then spyed a contract to Saban being pony express to Sexton along with a Brinks truck to Saban’s door…

    Yes, indeed how it all now sounds so far fetched yet well orchestrated to try and shame your current coach out of his job meanwhile losing the “Fort Knox of Coaches in college football” to those redneck gumps down here in BAMA….

    Roll Tide…..

  17. dhardy8207 says: Dec 15, 2013 9:58 AM

    Addendum*** Typo***1 st paragraph 3rd line **lose**

  18. polegojim says: Dec 15, 2013 11:12 AM

    Why do people hammer on a guy who makes
    money… just because he makes GREAT money???

    Forget your petty drivel about tuition and unpaid athletes… and all the other smoke and mirror crap.

    This is about earning it or not earning it.

    Saban isn’t a one or two year wonder like Weis… and the jury is out on Sumlin until he proves what he can do without Johnny Football… see Shanahan without Elway.

    Based PURELY on perennial results and success… Saban highly deserves to be the highest paid Coach.

  19. southernpatriots says: Dec 15, 2013 11:37 AM


    I don’t know if it is that flu fog or dementia I am in, but I agree my friend! ha.

    If there is a pecking order of current coaches in major college football, Saban is on top. If he generates the revenue for UA that he obviously does generate, then he deserves to be paid all they can pay him.

    All other contracts for other coaches should come in under that amount, but that is not guaranteed. Texas could come forth just because of pride and offer an established coach the highest contract in history to get their man. After all, the Texas boosters will pay whatever the AD negotiates.

  20. polegojim says: Dec 16, 2013 7:03 PM

    @SouthernPats… must be the dementia… see the SouthPats Doc for that one… ; )

    In the meantime… I have an Associates in Libation Medication… I recommend 3 parts Bulleit bourbon, with 1 part ice and 1 part mouth… x3 per game.

    If watching LSU V Michigan… maybe x4…

    Love Y’All!

  21. southernpatriots says: Dec 16, 2013 7:39 PM

    polegojim: I am leaning your direction on the matter. Hope it is not the medication talking.

    I am trying to find some of that expensive bourbon and cigars that Slive, our SEC Commissioner habitually partakes. Either he has taken the entire run of both or it is entirely too pricey for me.

    What is it going to take to get Michigan to agree to a series of 2? Wisconsin did at Houston and Green Bay. Whatsup with Michigan?

    So glad to hear from you friend!

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