Look, I'm not the one saying Charlie Weis is underpaid. It's the fine folks over at Coaches Hot Seat who claim that the best-paid coach in college football isn't making enough. Notre Dame's head coach makes $4.2 million a year, but Coaches Hot Seat says he ought to be paid $5.25 million.
Where do they get off saying this stuff? They didn't just pull that number out of thin air. Coaches Hot Seat figures that a coach should be paid 7.5% of his school's football revenue. Why 7.5%? I don't know, but they claim that the average coach takes in 7.61% of the team's football revenue, so their numbers seem reasonable. Still, take all this with a grain of salt.
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Weis is getting shafted by more than a million bucks a year, so is he the most underpaid coach in college football? Nope. Not even close. The school getting the biggest bargain, as measured in sheer dollars, is Georgia. Few can argue with Mark Richt's record as the head Bulldog and, at $2.2 million a year, he probably doesn't remember what ramen noodles taste like. CHS says he ought to be getting just under $5 million. Mack Brown? Underpaid. Jim Tressel? Ditto.
The list of underpaid coaches doesn't stop there.
Complaining about Kirk Ferentz's salary is threatening to become a national pastime. Guess what? CHS says he's underpaid. Iowa has the tenth highest revenues of any college football team, and Ferentz's share of that should be $3.75 million, quite a bit more than the $3.03 million he makes.
June Jones at SMU is the most overpaid coach in America, they claim. His $2 million salary is quite a bit bigger than the $750,000 they say he should be getting. But please, a little perspective. Of the ten most overpaid coaches (according to CHS) only three are in BCS conferences: David Cutcliffe, Bob Stoops and Pete Carroll. Good luck finding any Duke, OU, or USC fans who think their coach is overpaid.
Then again, sheer dollars alone might not be the best measure of overpaid/underpaid. The coach who takes home the greatest percentage of his school's revenue is New Mexico State's Hal Mumme. About one out of every four dollars NMSU takes in from its football program goes directly to Mumme. Of course, Mumme's salary is $349,000 a year. That's $1,000 less than Charlie Weis makes for one game.
There are plenty of proven coaches who get a too-small slice of the revenue pie. Mark Richt gets 3.33% of Georgia's revenues. Joe Paterno gets 3%. Mike Riley has had an acceptable run at Oregon State, but only gets 2.77% of the Beavers' bucks. Mark Dantonio (pictured right) gets a dismal 2.56% from Michigan State. No word on whether he has to work a half-day on Christmas and bring his own coal for the furnace. He'll get a big raise in the off-season, I'm sure.
But who is the coach who's getting the worst deal? You'll find him at Miami of Ohio, a school which openly refers to itself as The Cradle of Coaches. Some of the biggest names in coaching history got their start at Miami, coaches with names like Hayes, Parseghian, and Schembechler, all of whom went on to great success at other schools.
If those giants were paid like the current RedHawks coach, Shane Montgomery, it's not too hard to figure out why they left. Montgomery makes the least of any Division 1-A Football Bowl Subdivision coach by any measure. His salary of $144,000 a year is the lowest in the FBS and represents just 2.4% of Miami's income from football. There are more than a few 1-AA coaches who make more than that. Every assistant coach on the Florida Gators staff makes more money than that. Even if RedHawks fans aren't totally pleased with Coach Montgomery (and they're not), they ought to be ashamed that their university pays him so little.