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Chuck Landon: Pay per win puts coaches' salaries in perspective

Dec. 10, 2008 @ 01:34 AM

We all know NCAA FBS head coaches are paid exorbitant salaries.

That's not exactly a news flash.

But this is.

Charleston's Scott Burgess, a Marshall alum and fan who works in the financial sector, has put these coaches' huge paychecks in perspective.

Has he ever.

Instead of focusing on their overall salaries, Burgess calculated how much a coach gets paid per victory.

And the results?

Well, they weren't just eye-opening. ... they were wallet-dropping.

For example, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops is the highest paid coach in college football at a mind-boggling $6.5 million per season.

Which means Stoops got paid $541,666 for each of the Sooners' 12 wins this season.

But are any Oklahoma fans complaining?

I doubt it.

Considering Stoops has coached the Sooners into the national championship game against Florida, the Oklahoma faithful probably is ready to give him a bonus.

Stoops isn't the coach who really deserves a bonus, however. That distinction goes to venerable icon Joe Paterno.

JoePa has coached the Nittany Lions to an impressive 11-win season at the downright economical price of $136,000 per victory.

What a bargain.

Paterno is NCAA football's version of Dollar General.

That's because despite all Papa Joe has accomplished in his legendary career, he still is only the 35th-highest paid football coach in the country at $1.5 million per year.

By comparison, check the salary-per-win pay days for Florida's Urban Meyer and Alabama's Nick Saban, who met in the SEC championship last weekend.

The Crimson Tide anted up $333,333 for each of Saban's 12 wins based on the Fairmont, W.Va., native's $4 million per season salary.

Maybe that's why the Gators are wearing such toothy grins.

Despite beating Alabama and getting Florida into the national championship game, Meyer was paid about $63,000 per win less than Saban.

Based on Meyer's $3.25 million per year salary, he received $270,833 for each victory.

Now, let's localize this exercise in auditing.

Marshall's Mark Snyder produced only four wins, which means he was paid $125,000 for each victory. That's pretty steep compared to Paterno's $136,000 per win.

Then, there's West Virginia University's Bill Stewart. Although most Mountaineer fans never would agree with this assessment, he was indeed a bargain.

Based on Stewart's $800,000 per year salary, WVU paid him $100,000 per win.

Who would have ever thought the day would come when Marshall paid its football coach more money per win than WVU?

But as mind-boggling as that is, this is even more stupefying.

The highest-paid coach in the country per victory is not Stoops.

It also isn't Southern Cal's Pete Carroll, Ohio State's Jim Tressel, LSU's Les Miles or even Notre Dame's Charlie Weis.

Instead, the highest-paid coach in the land per victory is none other than the guy West Virginians love to hate. ... Michigan's Rich Rodriguez.

Yep, good ol' Coach Rod.

Based on his yearly salary of $2.5 million divided by the Wolverines' underwhelming total of only three wins, Rodriguez was paid a budget-breaking $833,333 per victory.

Perhaps, the words "you get what you pay for" never have been more relevant around Ann Arbor.

So, now, the next time you ask, "What price, victory?" ...

It won't have to be a rhetorical question.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 526-2827. E-mail him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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