How Much Does a College Coach Make?

Whether it’s a high school coach or a young athlete aspiring to work as a college coach, the question is usually, “How much does a college coach make?” This answer can vary by many factors, including the school, coach’s experience and possibly even the sport. Coaching college athletes can be both challenging and rewarding. It also requires experience, education, and love of the game. Here is some information on college coaching, including salary information, education requirements, and career outlook.

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How to Become a College Coach

To work as a college coach, an individual must earn at least a bachelor’s degree and possess a strong knowledge of the sport in which he or she coaches. While many college coaches obtained this knowledge through actually playing the sport, this is not always the case and not always required. College coaches must have a baccalaureate degree, but it doesn’t have to be on any specific subject. Some coaches do study subjects like exercise and sports science, physical education, kinesiology or sports medicine.

Candidates interested in working as college coaches are usually also required to have several years of coaching experience and a winning record at a school. An individual who excelled as an athlete in a certain sport may be hired as college coach even if he or she doesn’t have coaching experience. Many colleges also require that the coach obtain some sort of certification, whether it’s in coaching or in a specific sport.

How Much Does a College Coach Make?

While there may be base wages for college coaches, their wages are generally determined by their experience and win/loss record. You may have read that the average annual wage for head football coaches is under $50,000, but this does not take into consideration the many head coaches at top colleges in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). These wages are substantially and unbelievably higher than that. One big reason is those base wages don’t include bonuses and additional pay incentives.

Of all the college sports, the two that bring in the highest coaching wages are football and basketball. The amount of money a college coach makes According to The Quad, a magazine for The Best Schools, the highest paid college coach for the 2016-2017 season was Nick Saban, a college football coach for the University of Alabama. Below are the wages for the top ten college coaches for the 2016-2017 season.

1. Nick Saban – Football – University of Alabama – $11,132,000

2. Dabo Swinney – Football – Clemson University – $8,504,600

3. John Calipari – Basketball – University of Kentucky – $7,140,000

4. Jim Harbaugh – Football – University of Michigan – $7,004,000

5. Urban Meyer – Football – Ohio State University – $6,431,240

6. Jimbo Fisher – Football – Florida State University – $5,700,000

7. David Shaw – Football – Stanford University – $5,680,441

8. Rich Rodriguez – Football – University of Arizona – $5,631,563

9. Mike Krzyzewski – Basketball – Duke University – $5,550,475

10. Tom Herman – Football – University of Texas – $5,486,316

Career Outlook for College Coaches

As more colleges expand their sports programs, there will be more students enrolling in sports, which puts college coaches more in demand. College coaches are expected to see a job growth of 13 percent during the 2016-2026 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

College coaches play an important role in a young athlete’s life. They work with them on the field and often mentor them off the field. Their work is a steady commitment during the season and in the offseason. With training, education, experience and a winning record, a college coach can expect to make an excellent wage.

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