When USA Today released their annual series on college football coaching salaries, it wasn’t a complete shock to see Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh top the list given how much the school has invested in him since he returned to Ann Arbor from the NFL.
What was a little surprising was the total compensation figure listed for the Wolverines’ head coach at a whopping $9,004,000. That’s a figure that’s more than $2 million more than the second highest paid coach (Nick Saban) and $3 million more than Big Ten rival Urban Meyer.
As it turns out, that lofty salary is mostly the result of the way Harbaugh’s contract is structured and due to roughly $4 million in insurance premium payments on top of his standard half a million salary. But that’s not going to be the coach’s final compensation number at all this year as he has a chance to top the $10 million mark through a variety of bonuses.
Per USA Today:
- $125,000 if the team plays in the Big Ten Conference championship.
- $125,000 if the team wins the Big Ten title game.
- $300,000 if the team plays in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
- $500,000 if the team wins the national championship.
- $50,000 for being voted Big Ten coach of the year by the conference’s coaches.
- $75,000 for winning any one of six national coach of the year awards.
- At athletics director Warde Manuel’s discretion, up to $150,000 based on the team’s academic performance, as long as its single-year and multi-year NCAA Academic Progress Rate figures are at least 960.
Michigan is ranked No. 2 in the country and has a fairly clear path to the College Football Playoff and national title game if they keep playing like they have so it’s not hard to see Harbaugh hitting most of those bonuses to become the sport’s first $10 million man.
While fans at many other schools may throw their hands up in disgust as a result of those figures, you can bet maize and blue fans believe Harbaugh to be worth every single penny.