Coaches paid big money, but bring in bigger money
KNOXVILLE — Ask around enough, and you’ll learn that the sky began falling in 1982. That’s when Jackie Sherrill left Pittsburgh for Texas A&M and what was then a staggering amount of money for a football coach.
The New York Times reported at the time that Sherrill, who later coached Mississippi State and now lives in Germantown, would earn $1.7 million over the life of his seven-year contract — about $240,000 a year — and become the highest paid college football coach in America.
So if you want a scapegoat for the bull market in coaches’ salaries, blame the man who supposedly castrated a bull during practice to fire up his team.
Or blame Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier, who became two of the first million-dollar-a-year coaches in the 1990s.
Or Nick Saban and his $32 million contract to coach Alabama.
As long as coaches have blown whistles, it seems, a winner is always in demand.
Combine the fervor for championship-level football in the Southeastern Concerence with deep pockets and growing revenue, and it’s little surprise that football coaches are among some of the highest earners — state employee or otherwise — all over the South.