Last Updated on September 16, 2023
This offseason may have signaled the beginning of the end for the Pac-12 as we know it. As the conference struggled to come to terms with a media rights agreement for a television network to air games, many of its member institutions looked elsewhere for a new home. After USC and UCLA announced their departure to the Big Ten last offseason, eight new schools followed suit in 2023. Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah all announced they would be joining the Big 12 in 2024, while both Oregon and Washington agreed to join the Big Ten and California and Stanford plan to enter the ACC. That leaves just Oregon State and Washington State as the two remaining members of the conference moving forward.
As the majority of its schools plan to head their separate ways following the calendar year, we broke down the updated salaries for its head coaches in 2023.
Pac-12 College Football Coaching Salaries
Kyle Wittingham, Utah
Wittingham, the 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, has led the Utes to two Pac-12 South Division championships over a three-year span and reached the Rose Bowl in 2022, nearly knocking off Ohio State.
His reworked contract keeps him around through 2027 and will pay him through revenue from the school and through partnerships with LEARFIELD and Under Armour. In the 2022 season, his annual salary from the school will be $4.5 million from Utah, with an additional $1.5 million from the partnerships to bring his annual earnings to $6 million.
If Wittingham can continue to his team to new heights, he’ll have incentives in his contract to boost that number even higher. Any New Year’s Six Bowl or College Football Playoff appearance will add a $400,000 incentive to his deal.
Chip Kelly, UCLA
Following a 9-4 finish and trip to the Sun Bowl in 2022, UCLA administration made the decision to lock down Kelly with a two-year contract extension worth roughly $300,000 annually in bonuses back in March. Now in his sixth season at the helm of the program, Kelly is in line to lead the team through the 2027 season. Kelly will make $6.1 million during the 2022 and 2023 seasons before his contract increases to $6.2 million in 2025, 2026, and 2027.
The contract also includes an $8.5 million buyout if the head coach is dismissed prior to December 2023 and $4.24 million if let go prior to December 2024. The buyout drops to $0 thereafter. On the flip side, Kelly would owe UCLA $3 million if he left before the conclusion of the 2023 season and $1.5 million if he left prior to the end of the 2025 season.
Kalen DeBoer, University of Washington
Washington is trusting Kalen DeBoer with turning around the Huskies’ trajectory and returning to the school’s College Football Playoff heights after the firing of Jimmy Lake. DeBoer will earn just over $3 million annually with yearly raises. The contract runs for five years and aims to keep him around until 2027.
The contract, which DeBoer signed in November, also offers incentives for on- and off-the-field performance for the Huskies, including title game appearances and APR scores.
Justin Wilcox, University of California-Berkeley
Justin Wilcox signed a new extension after the 2021 season. After bouncing around multiple schools as a defensive coordinator, Wilcox agreed to become the head coach at Cal before the 2017 season, but the program has yet to take off with on-field success.
This six-year deal can reach a total of $28.5 million, with an annual value of $4.75 million. The contract also boosts the amount of money available in the pool for assistant coaches.
Jake Dickert, Washington State University
Washington State is looking to Jake Dickert to return the program to relevance, after Dickert took over as the interim head coach for the 2021 season. The Cougars and Dickert agreed to a five-year, $13.5 million contract in late November 2021, which will pay him an annual salary of $2.7 million.
Dan Lanning, University of Oregon
When Mario Cristobal bolted Eugene to coach at University of Miami, Dan Lanning took over at the helm of one of the most iconic programs in the Pac-12. Lanning was the defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach for the Georgia Bulldogs from 2019 to 2021.
In his first season out west, Lanning will be one of the most well-paid coaches in the conference. His six-year contract has an average annual salary of $4.85 million, along with incentives that can boost the number further. The contract is a raise on what Lanning was earning at Georgia and holds a total value of $29.1 million.
Kenny Dillingham, Arizona State University
Kenny Dillingham will take over for Herm Edwards and seek to return the Sun Devils back to Pac-12 relevance. Dillingham is an Arizona State grad and grew up in the state, though he most recently coached for Oregon as its offensive coordinator.
To kick off his Arizona State coaching career, the Sun Devils gave Dillingham a five-year deal with an annual salary of $3.85 million. The deal also includes annual increases and incentives for on- and off-the-field performance.
Jedd Fisch, University of Arizona
Fisch replaced former Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin after the Wildcats went winless in five games in 2020. Fisch signed a five-year contract worth $14.1 million with a base compensation at $10.1 million and an annual value between $1.8 and $2.3 million.
After improving the Wildcats from one win to five, Fisch agreed to an extension that will keep him with Arizona until 2027. He will now make $2.85 million in annual salary in his first year, with that figure escalating until $3.6 million in his final season of the deal.
Deion Sanders, University of Colorado
After leading Jackson State to great success and national acclaim, Deion Sanders made the decision to move to the Power Five to coach once-mighty Colorado ahead of the 2023 season. The Buffaloes are relying on the biggest name on the coaching market to infuse life into a program that was one of the worst in Power Five in 2022 and lead a quick turnaround.
Colorado agreed to head-turning contract terms to lure Sanders to Boulder. Sanders will immediately become one of the Pac-12’s highest-paid coaches, with a five-year deal carrying a total of $29.5 million. His first season will come with a $5.5 million annual salary and annual raises of $200,000. The annual salary also stipulates his involvement in press appearances, promotion and development of student-athletes.
Jonathan Smith, Oregon State University
Under Jonathan Smith, Oregon State has made strides toward competitiveness in the Pac-12. The Beavers made it a priority to keep Smith around at the end of last season, agreeing to a new contract that aims to keep him around until 2027 and boosts his 2021 salary, which was $2.5 million. In 2022, Smith will earn $3.25 million, and that figure will escalate until it hits $4.55 million in 2027.
Lincoln Riley of the University of Southern California and Troy Taylor of Stanford University both do not have enough public information regarding their contracts since both schools are private universities and are not required to release contracts to the public.
We’re adding more college football coaching salaries from other conferences here.