1. Nick SabanAlabama$7.09 million
2. Kevin SumlinTexas A&M$5 million
3. Hugh FreezeOle Miss$4.7 million#
4. Les MilesLSU$4.39 million
5. Gus MalzahnAuburn$4.35 million
6. Jim McElwainFlorida$4.25 million
7. Butch JonesTennessee$4.13 million
8. Bret BielemaArkansas$4.06 million
9. Dan MullenMississippi State$4 million^
10. Kirby SmartGeorgia$3.75 million
11. Mark StoopsKentucky$3.5 million
12. Will MuschampSouth Carolina$3.0 million
13. Barry OdomMissouri$2.35 million

*Based on media reports detailing pay for 2016 as well as 2015 salary data according to the USA Today database.

^Dan Mullen’s contract, which he signed prior to the 2015 season, pays him an average of $4.275 million per year; he made $4 million in 2015, but media reports did not detail how much his salary would increase per year.

#Hugh Freeze’s contract will average $4.925 million per season for four years with a raise of $150,000 per season.

We’ve already documented that the SEC head coaches have gotten much younger.

In the process, several SEC schools also are paying less for their head coaches, despite the SEC distributing a huge record of $31.2 million per institution in 2015. (These numbers do not include Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason.)

Average SEC salary, 2016: $4.11 million
Average SEC salary, 2015: $4.28 million

That decrease comes mostly from the three schools who changed coaches. More on that shortly.

Butch Jones got a raise of $500,000 per year, after an 8-4 season at Tennessee. Some fans felt that was preposterous, but it puts his salary in line with the conference average next season. (At least for now. If Nick Saban wins a national title, it’s possible he’ll be in line for another raise.)

Considering Georgia will pay Mark Richt a reported $4.1 million buyout, money saved on first-year head coach Kirby Smart’s salary is more like “money saved.”

Two SEC schools should benefit from a lesser price tag, though, considering that Missouri coach Gary Pinkel retired and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier resigned.

Here is the split in salary for the three schools that made head coaching changes:


2015 (Mark Richt): $4.12 million
2016 (Kirby Smart): $3.75 million


2015 (Gary Pinkel): $3.77 million
2016 (Barry Odom): $2.35 million


2015 (Steve Spurrier): $4.03 million
2016 (Will Muschamp): $3.0 million

In other words, Missouri is spending $1.42 million less on its head football coach and South Carolina is spending $1.03 millino less.

Of course, we don’t know what Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason makes, because the Commodores do not have to disclose that information publicly.

But among the other 13 institutions, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops was the lowest-paid head coach in 2015. This season, with a slight scheduled bump, he ranks fourth in the SEC East, just $100,000 behind Florida’s Jim McElwain and $250,000 behind Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

The SEC West now claims seven of the top eight coaching salaries in the conference, with Tennessee’s Butch Jones barely breaking up the clean sweep despite his raise.