Can you name the five coaches who make the most money in college football?
Honestly, if you follow college football closely, it shouldn’t be too hard compiling the list, although getting them in the correct order may be a challenge.
Former Texas coach Charlie Strong wasn’t on the list, although he was close behind at No. 6 with a salary of $5.2 million.
According to USA Today, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is No. 1 with a salary of just more than $9 million. Alabama coach Nick Saban was next at $6.9 million, followed by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer at $6 million, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops at $5.5 million, and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher at $5.25 million.
It’s not surprising that the SEC had the highest median coach salary at $4,172,500. The Big 12 was runner-up with a median salary of $3,540,788.
USA Today reports that at least seven Football Bowl Subdivision coaches—not all contracts are public—would be owed at least $20 million guaranteed if they were fired after the regular season. Of the 53 publicly available contracts for Power 5 coaches, 33 include buyouts of at least $8 million.
Being a coach in America at a football factory pays well. We can debate whether any coach is worth that much money, but schools who are winning games and putting people in the seats believe these coaches are worth their salary. The cost of not winning may, in fact, be greater.
Of course, if we had as much passion for supporting education as we have for winning football and basketball games, we’d undoubtedly would have a better-educated workforce.
Do you have a favorite radio or TV announcer? Most fans naturally gravitate toward broadcasters who call games of their favorite teams.
Compiling a list of the all-time great announcers is difficult. Just for fun, I Googled best sports announcers and the following top 10 list popped up: Keith Jackson, Vin Scully, Al (do you believe in miracles) Michaels, Marv Albert, Pat Summerall, A. Lennart Julin (I’ve never heard of him), Hawk Harrelson, Jack Buck, Curt Gowdy and Howard (just telling it like it is) Cosell.
Some viable contenders who didn’t make the top 10 list were Jim Nantz, Harry Kalas, Gus Johnson, Brent Musburger, Ernie Harwell and Joe Buck.
Naturally, there’s a lot of subjectivity involved and there won’t be complete agreement. It’s in the ears of the beholder. The best broadcasters generally cover the biggest games, with the very real possibility of overexposure. It’s funny how fans of a particular team will dump on an announcer like Joe Buck when he is perceived as insufficiently respectful of their team in a single remark.
Dick Vitale wasn’t on the list, probably because listening to his exuberance announcing college basketball games is borderline obnoxious. OK. Some of you may prefer removing borderline from that description. I’d classify Vitale as entertaining, although admittedly, his style is tiring if you hear him a lot.
Living in Kansas, most of us were deprived of hearing L.A. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully for the most part. By all accounts he was a classy, humble man who was easy to listen to call a game. His 67 seasons with the Dodgers, starting in Brooklyn in 1950 and ending in 2016, constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history.
Doug Padilla, writing for ESPN.com, said Scully’s voice will be missed. Players somewhere between clean-shaven and fully bearded, Scully liked to say “arrived by raft.”
Players didn’t make bad contact, they “sounded like they hit that one with the morning paper.” And a high-energy player “makes coffee nervous.”
One go-to statement as his career wound down: “I’ve always needed you more than you have needed me.”
Perhaps another broadcasting legend said it best. The San Diego Padres’ Dick Enberg also said goodbye recently and the following is how he described Scully to mlb.com.
“I would want to describe what Vin isn’t,” Enberg said. “It’s not loud. It’s not frantic. It’s not about himself grandstanding, it’s not shouting. It’s smooth and well-prepared. It’s that favorite sweater that you put on during a chilly day.”
That day just got a little colder, wrote Padilla.
Hillsboro resident Joe Kleinsasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Kleinsasser@wichita.edu.