Updated by Will Whitmore on August 26, 2021
There wasn’t a lot of turnover after a shortened 2020 Pac-12 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the season limited to only six games, there was only one coaching replacement in the Pac-12 Conference as former Rams Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch was named the head coach at Arizona in 2021. A Pac-12 school has not appeared in the College Football Playoff since 2014, the longest drought among Power Five conferences. With a number of historic programs in the conference, we broke down the updated salaries for the conference’s head coaches in 2021.
Pac-12 College Football Coaching Salaries
Kyle Wittingham, Utah University
Wittingham, the 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year has led the Utes to two Pac-12 South Division championships over the past three years and was a awarded a handsome extension in 2020 for his success. Wittingham’s contract runs through the 2027 season, earning a $1,375,000 base salary.
Wittinham also earns a little over $1,230,000 yearly for television and radio revenue. The new deal also states he can earn up to $1,080,000 per season in bonuses in a variety of categories including team performance, personal performance, program APR and graduation rate.
Chip Kelly, UCLA
Kelly, now in his second stint as a head coach in the Pac-12 has struggled to replicate the success that he previously enjoyed at Oregon. Kelly has yet to record a winning season at UCLA with a dismal 10-21 record.
Kelly is in his fourth season of a five-year $23,300,000 contract. Though Kelly’s base salary is only $300,000 per season, he brings in the most money through his annual ‘talent fee,” which is for public appearances at booster events and other university functions. The fee allows Kelly to make a lucrative $4,300,000 over the two final seasons of his contract.
Jimmy Lake, University of Washington
Jimmy Lake took over after the 2019 season when Chris Peterson stepped down after six successful seasons. Lake has been with the Huskies program since the 2014 season in a variety of roles, all on the defensive side of the ball. It was difficult to evaluate Lake’s first season for the Huskies as the team faced an array of COVID-19 obstacles. Washington only played four games and had four games canceled due to the pandemic. We will see this season if Lake can maintain the recent success of Washington’s football program.
Lake’s contract is worth $16,000,000 over five seasons with an average salary of $3,200,000. He can earn bonuses up to $1,275,000 per season based off team success and program APR. Lake also earns an additional $100,000 through incentives if Washington wins the conference.
Justin Wilcox, California University
Justin Wilcox signed a new extension after the 2018 season. After bouncing around multiple schools as a defensive coordinator, Wilcox agreed to become the head coach at Cal before the 2017 season. The program has defined mediocrity since he took over with a 21-21 overall record.
Much like Chip Kelly’s contract, Wilcox’s new contract is mainly based off a talent fee. His base salary pays him $275,000 in 2021 with a talent fee starting at $3,300,000 that increases $150,000 each year until his contract expires in 2023. Wilcox can also earn bonuses up to $900,000 per season based off team performance and academic records.
Nick Rolovich, Washington State University
Nick Rolovich took over as the head coach after Mike Leach accepted the head coaching at Mississippi State University in 2020. Rolovich enters his second season after spending four seasons as the head coach at Hawaii. Like Lake, Washington State will get a better feel for Rolovich in 2021 since the Cougars were limited to only four games in 2020.
Rolovich enters the second year of his five-year deal that pays him $3,000,000 per season. The interesting part about his contract is the buyout terms. If the coach were to leave after the 2021 season he would owe the school $6,000,000. That number drops down to $5,000,000, $2,000,000, and $1,000,000 every year after.
Mario Cristobal, University of Oregon
Cristobal, arguably the most successful coach in the conference was awarded an extension in 2020 that runs through the 2025 season. Cristobal will earn $4,550,000 annually over the course of his new contract and can earn $325,000 in incentives if the Ducks make the College Football Playoff.
Additionally, a one-year extension will be added to Cristobal’s contract if he wins the Pac-12 North or nine regular-season games.
Herm Edwards, Arizona State University
Herm Edwards was hired after the 2017 season after he decided to make a return to coaching. Edwards spent years coaching in the NFL before he moved to broadcasting with ESPN. He originally signed a five-year deal but was extended for two more in January 2020.
Edwards received a pay raise which will now pay him $3,500,000 per season. Edwards’ salary increases $200,000 in each of year of his contract. The bonuses of the extension were unclear; however he was set to make up to $3,700,000 per season in incentives based off classroom performance and team success before the extension.
Jedd Fisch, Arizona University
Fisch is replacing 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 $14,100,000 with a base compensation at $10,100,000.
Fisch receives an additional $800,000 per year in “peripheral compensation” which is $500,000 per year in promotional and fundraising while also earning $300,000 from team sponsors.
Karl Dorrell, Colorado University
Dorrell is in his second season at Colorado after spending years in the NFL as a position coach for multiple different teams. Dorrell takes over for Mel Tucker, who recently left the program for Michigan State University.
Dorrell’s contract is for five years with an average base salary of $3,600,000. His deal also includes multiple incentives that could pay him up to roughly $2,000,000 based on performance and season accolades. He also has a buyout clause similar to Nick Rolovich’s deal if he were to leave early that starts at $10,000,000 and decreases each year after.
Jonathan Smith, Oregon State University
Smith was hired by the Beavers after the 2017 season, and the program has seen rapid improvement after just two seasons, which led the university to give him an extension this past off season. The new deal will keep him with the team through 2025.
Smith received a hefty pay raise which will now pay him $2,500,000 in 2021 and a $100,000 increase each season after. All of Smith’s bonuses from his last deal stay the same except for the incentive that would pay him up to $100,000 per season based off total wins per season. It also included a buyout clause of $3,000,000 which decreases each season.
Clay Helton of the University of South California and David Shaw 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.
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