College Guide


November 10, 2009 12:20 PM Who is More Valuable, a Football Coach or a Professor?

By Jesse Singal

Over at BloggEd (note: I originally wrongly referred to the blog as Campus Comment), Ben Yagoda pulls some highlights from a USA Today story on football coaches’ salaries at big D-I programs:

* Fifty-six coaches make over $1 million a year (25 pull in over $2 mil, nine over $3 mil, and three $4 mil or more).
* The average pay for coaches in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) division has gone up 46% over the last three years, and now is $1.31 million.
* Maybe most startling at all, 66 assistant coaches make $300,000 or more. At the University of Tennessee, the nine assistants earn an average of more than $369,000.

He then points out:

For comparison’s sake, the average full professor at at research university makes about $115,000 and, as noted yesterday, the average salary for the president of a private college or university is $358,000.

Yeah, but when has a college professor or president ever led a football team to a strong enough season to convince both human and computer judges that it deserves to appear in a high-profile game at the end of the year? That’s what I thought.

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.


  • Amit Joshi on November 10, 2009 8:51 PM:

    Not to mention, coaches don't have tenure for life.

  • Mike on November 10, 2009 11:15 PM:

    Not to mention, football programs are worthless and football coaches contribute nothing to the benefit of any university.

    Ban intercollegiate athletics.

  • Crissa on November 10, 2009 11:31 PM:

    Neither do most college professors or presidents. Also, tenured educators can still be fired for poor performance.

    I'm not sure what the point of that comment is...

  • DR on November 11, 2009 12:19 PM:

    Who is more valuable, football players or movie stars? Who is more valuable, history professors or engineering professors?

    Those are more reasonable things to compare then football coaches and professors. Football coaches have very little to do with education. Football coaches get paid the big bucks because they are worth the money. Just like movie stars.