What is the Return on Investment of a Great Coach?
The United States of America has a unique value system. In America, money is most commonly associated with value regardless of the commodity. Money usually correlates with responsibility, respect and success. Here is an astonishing statistic, 40 of the 50 states have an athletics coach as the highest paid public official. That is 80 percent of America, with the highest salary belonging to Nick Saban. Nick Saban, head football coach for the University of Alabama, is paid $5.62 million a year and that number is expected to be $6m by 2017. The question is what is the return on the investment.40 of the 50 states have an athletics coach as the highest paid public official
If you look at the gold standard set by Nick Saban, $5.6m has gotten Alabama 3 BCS championships and 3 SEC championships, his title at LSU must also be factored in. That is money well spent, but if you look throughout the top 10 you will find names like Gary Patterson(TCU $3.5m), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa $3.9), Mike Gundy (OK State $3.3m), Charlie Strong (Lou 3.7m), Bob Stoops (OK $4.6m) and Mack Brown (TX $5.3m), the question can be asked what are you paying for. The coaches I just mentioned, combine for $24.3 million in salary annually but have only 2 national titles between them in 6 appearances. Other coaches rounding out the top 10, Urban Meyer (OH State $4.3m), Les Miles (LSU $4.3m), Steve Spurrier (SC $3.6m) combine for $12.4 million in salary, the difference is the 4 national titles in 6 appearances. Makes you think what are schools paying for, exactly.
I choose not to judge the ridiculous salaries for coaches, because I love football and I know football teams make humongous contributions to universities and coaches are more of an asset than a bill. I did find the map interesting and it made me think, “What are these institutions paying for?” in the case of some, they are paying for titles while others are fine with appearances.