Cash Cows: Top 10 Most Overpaid CFB Coaches
10. Kirk Ferentz (Iowa): $3.8MM/Yr.
Big-time college football coaches often command more attention and respect than their states’ politicians. Not to mention bigger salaries — which they sometimes don’t deserve. With reference help from Phil Steele’s blog, we make our selections for college football’s Top 10 Most Overpaid Coaches.
In 13 seasons in Iowa City, Kirk Ferentz has been solid — but not spectacular, as his salary (fifth highest in the FBS) would seem to indicate.
Iowa has been to two BCS bowls under Ferentz but the Hawkeyes have only won 10 games under him once since 2004 and enter the 2012 season once again expected to finish in the middle of the Big Ten pack.
And someone as well-compensated as Ferentz should be better at keeping his players on the straight and narrow. Yet Iowa ranked No. 2 among the 2010 Preseason Top 25 in players with criminal records (18), according to a March 2011 Sports Illustrated/CBS investigation.
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9. Jim Grobe (Wake Forest): $2.3MM/Yr.
Give Grobe some credit. Before him, the last Demon Deacons head coach with a winning record was D.C. “Pearhead” Walker, who went 77–51–6 from 1937–50.
But at 68–67 entering the 2012 season, Grobe is just barely hanging on to that winning record.
And since Wake’s out-of-nowhere ACC championship and Orange Bowl appearance in 2006, they’ve regressed nearly every season. Nine wins in ’07, eight in ’08, five in ’09 and three in ’10 before “rallying” for six wins in 2011.
At least Grobe’s hot seat isn’t as toasty as Wake’s underperforming men’s basketball coach’s, Jeff Bzdelik.
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8. Jeff Tedford (Cal): $2.3MM/Yr.
Aaron Rodgers’ agent should negotiate a cut of Tedford’s salary for the salary of the Packers QB.
Since Rodgers became an NFL star, his former coach at Berkeley has received two separate pay raises. As of 2011, Tedford is the highest-paid state employee of California — all while the Golden State suffers one of the worst budget crises in the country.
It would be one thing if the Golden Bears were competing for national titles each year. Yet they’ve finished higher than fourth in the Pac-12 only once since Rodgers left in 2004. They are now no longer even the best team in Bay Area, having lost to Stanford each of the past two seasons.
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7. Tommy Tuberville (TX Tech): $2MM/Yr.
Tuberville developed a reputation as a turnaround artist with successful reclamation projects at Ole Miss and Auburn. Unfortunately for Red Raider fans, the third time hasn’t been a charm during his tenure in Lubbock.
Brought in to keep Tech amongst the Big 12 elite, “The Riverboat Gambler” has guided the Red Raiders to a paltry 5–12 conference record in two seasons. He’s on his third defensive coordinator in as many seasons, and TTU athletic director Kirby Hocutt had to issue a statement at the end of last season to confirm that Tuberville would still be the head coach.
Tech fans are still miserable over the firing of Mike Leach and if the Red Raiders don’t turn things around in 2012, Tuberville won’t have the backing of his boss a second time.
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6. Will Muschamp (Florida): $3.2MM/Yr.
Among 2011’s first-year head coaches, only Michigan’s Brady Hoke has a higher salary than Muschamp, whose $3.2 million annual contract is ninth highest in the FBS. Hoke returned the Wolverines to prominence with a Sugar Bowl-winning season, while the Gators limped to a 7–6 record that included getting outscored by a combined total of 79-21 by Alabama and LSU.
Muschamp’s salary seems even more absurd when considering the precedent at Florida. Urban Meyer’s salary didn’t reach Muschamp’s level until June 2007 — the summer after he won the first of his two national titles with the Gators.
Perhaps Muschamp has a clause built into his contract where the more ridiculous faces he makes, the more he gets paid. It would certainly explain a lot.
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5. Paul Pasqualoni (UConn): $1.5MM/Yr.
Huskies basketball coach Jim Calhoun has been questioned about his salary before, and he wins. Pasqualoni doesn’t, and yet he makes more than Dana Holgorsen — coach of reigning Big East champ West Virginia.
Despite not having been a head coach since 2004 — and not coaching a team to a .500 record or better since 2001 — Pasqualoni was handed a five-year deal in January 2011. The deal is the same length as the new contract Calhoun had signed a year earlier.
How head-scratching a move was Pasqualoni’s hiring? UConn football’s biggest booster, Robert G. Burton, demanded the return of his $3 million donation — and asked for his family’s name to be removed from the football complex — less than two weeks after the hiring was announced.
One 5-7 season later certainly hasn’t proven Pasqualoni’s doubters wrong.
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4. Jim Mora (UCLA): $2.4MM/Yr.
No athletic program is more decorated than UCLA, which has 108 NCAA team championships to its name. That success is largely attributed to its excellent lineage of head coaches, from basketball (John Wooden) to water polo (Guy Baker). From men’s volleyball (Al Scates) to softball (Sue Enquist).
New football coach Jim Mora could be in line to make more than any UCLA coach ever — and he hasn’t even coached a game for the Bruins yet.
At least force Mora to win games at the same rate as Dick Vermeil, Terry Donahue or even Bob Toledo before giving him more money than any coach — football or otherwise — in school history.
It doesn’t help that Mora has been fired from two NFL head coaching jobs - including a disastrous, one-year stint as the Seattle Seahawks’ head man in 2009.
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3. Derek Dooley (Tennessee): $2.3MM/Yr.
Dooley is No. 20 on the list of highest-paid FBS coaches and makes $50,000 more than Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer a year.
Let’s compare these two coaches, shall we?
Dooley is entering his sixth year as a major college football head coach at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee, Beamer his 32nd (and his 26th in Blacksburg). Dooley’s best season record-wise is eight wins — a mark Beamer has reached 20 times (including 13 seasons of 10 wins or more). The most prestigious bowl Dooley has reached is the Music City Bowl. Beamer’s teams have been to nine BCS bowls (seven in the BCS era).
Obviously, Dooley entered a tough situation in Knoxville taking over for Lane Kiffin. But two losing seasons with the Volunteers and a 28-34 career record as an FBS head coach certainly isn’t worth $2.3 million per year.
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2. Charlie Weis (Kansas): $2.5 MM/Yr.
We get it. Weis helped transform Tom Brady from an NFL draft afterthought into a three-time Super Bowl champion. He also helped Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen have prolific careers at Notre Dame.
But being a head coach requires more than offensive acumen. You have to have a strong defense as well — and Weis has yet to demonstrate an ability to foster one.
His lowest-scoring defense at Notre Dame? 2008, when the Irish allowed a hardly-dominant 22.2 points/game. And at Kansas they need the most help with a defense that allowed an FBS-worst 43.8 points/game in 2011.
Why pay $2.5 million a year — which trails only Mack Brown and Bob Stoops among Big 12 coaches’ salaries — to someone who’s completely uninterested in that part of the game and struggled mightily as Florida’s offensive coordinator last season?
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1. Randy Edsall (Maryland): $2MM/Yr.
When you get a fat contract to take over a new program and then take a nine-win team and drive it into the ground with just two victories in your first season, it’s hard not to end up atop a list like this. Last season included a 31-point home loss to Temple and an eight-game losing streak to end the campaign.
If you’re scoring at home, Edsall’s two wins mean he made $1 million per victory last fall.
To put Edsall’s salary in perspective – the 32nd-highest in the FBS – he makes slightly more than Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, one of the five best coaches in the game today. To make matters worse, a budget shortfall forced Maryland’s athletic department to cut seven varsity programs earlier this month.
There are many who wish the Terps would have cut Edsall instead.
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