Updated by Will Whitmore on August 24, 2021
What do college football coaching salaries look like in the Big 12?
Coaching in the Big 12 comes with some difficult challenges considering how competitive and offensive-minded the conference is but it also comes with some nice paychecks. The Big 12 is one of the best conferences in college football, and the salaries of the coaches proves that. This article will breaks down and examine the salaries of all the head coaches in the Big 12 heading into 2021.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma University
Lincoln Riley took over after longtime coach Bob Stoops stepped down after the 2016 season. Riley picked up right where the Sooners left off as one of the best programs in college football. After three successful seasons that saw Oklahoma make an appearance in the College Football Playoff each year, Riley signed a massive extension the summer prior to the 2020 season.
After making $6,000,000 in the first year of Riley’s new lucrative contract, the Oklahoma Head Coach is set for a $1,800,000 increase in 2021. Riley is set to earn $8,050,000 in 2021, the most over any season during his six-year $45,210,000 contract. With Riley calling plays for Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler, the duo will look to guide the Sooners to their first national championship since 2003 where Riley would earn a $425,000 bonus for the victory.
Gary Patterson, Texas Christian University
The most successful coach in TCU Football history, Patterson has been with the Horned Frogs since 2000.
Patterson is the ninth highest paid coach in the country and is expected to earn $6,130,000 in 2021. Patterson has not led TCU to a “New Years Six” bowl game since 2014 and hopes to get the Horned Frogs back on track after a mediocre 2020 season where TCU won only six games.
Steve Sarkisian, University of Texas
The Longhorns lured Sarkisian away from Alabama after Sarkisian’s offense as offensive coordinator put up an astounding 48.5 points per game and ranked fourth in the nation in total offense. Sarkisian is guaranteed $34,200,000 over a six year contract.
Sarkisian is set to make $5,200,000 his first year in Austin with a guaranteed $200,000 annual raise. An interesting clause of Sarkisian’s contract is that the head coach would earn a one-time payment of $1,200,000 if he is still in Austin after 2024. With Longhorn fans’ high expectations, Sarkisian will need to deliver conference championships if he wants to stick around to earn that bonus
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University
Mike Gundy has a rather unique contract situation, as Gundy took a paycut in 2020 he took a pay cut and his contract was shortened by a year. After an internal review of the organization, Gundy agreed to the reduction of his contract.
Gundy will now make $4,125,000 per year through the 2022 season. His buyout was also reduced from $5,000,000 to $4,000,000. It is unclear what kind of bonuses, if any are included in his reworked deal.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State University
Campbell has resurrected the Cyclone Football program since his arrival in 2016 with the Cyclones recording their first conference championship appearance in 2020. With Iowa State’s unexpected success, many expected Campbell to explore more other options in the coaching carousel, but the Iowa State locked their man up long-term in March, signing Campbell to a contract extension that runs through the 2028 season.
Campbell will earn $4,000,000 yearly and is the fifth highest head coach in the Big 12. To ensure Campbell’s commitment to the program, the Cyclones added a clause that requires Campbell to pay $4,000,000 if he leaves the program before 2028. Campbell also earns a $250,000 bonus every year the Cyclones win seven or more games.
Neal Brown, West Virginia University
West Virginia signed Neal Brown to a six-year deal at the beginning of 2019 worth a total of $19,000,000 which averages out to $3,166,000 per season. In April 2021, WVU announced a two-year contract extension that will keep Brown at the helm through 2026. His six-year contract is now worth $23.85 million, with an average yearly salary of $3.975 million.
Brown’s new contract is a $700,000 annual increase from his previous contract and Brown also has the opportunity to make up to up to $ 1,150,000 annually in bonuses based off team success.
Matt Wells, Texas Tech University
Matt Wells was signed after the 2018 season after spending time as the head coach at his alma mater Utah State university. The Red Raiders won four games in each of 2019 and 2020–Wells’ first two years as head coach.
With a $18,800,000 contract over six years, Wells earns average of $3,133,000 per season, with the ability to make an extra $1,000,000 per season in bonuses based off team performance. Wells has yet to record a winning season in Lubbock, and the former Utah State Head Coach has found his name inching closer to the hot seat. If Wells wishes to keep his job, the Red Raiders must improve on defense as Texas Tech allowed over 36 points per game in 2020.
Lance Leipold, Kansas University
The Jayhawks are looking for a fresh start after former Kansas Head Coach Les Miles was fired last season amid sexual misconduct allegations against the former LSU and Kansas head coach. The Jayhawks hired former Buffalo Head Coach Lance Leipold to a six-year deal in 2021.
Leipold is set to earn $2,750,000 a year with incentives of an additional $100,000 if the Jayhawks appear in a bowl game. With nine wins over the past six seasons, it will be a tall task for Leipold and his staff to resurrect the Kansas program from the grave.
Chris Kleiman, Kansas State University
Kleiman became the head coach of the Wildcats after many successful seasons at North Dakota State University. Kleiman has the lowest annual salary of any Big 12 coach, but it comes with a raise of $200,000 each season.
The deal is for six years and when factoring in the annual raise, totals around $16,900,000. His deal is also heavily based off bonuses, which based off team performance can be up to $1,075,000.
The contracts of Dave Aranda at Baylor University is not publicly released due to the fact the school is a private universities. However, Aranda enters the second year of his recently signed to a six-year deal starting in 2020.
We’re adding more college football coaching salaries from other conferences here.
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