The coaching silly season is about to heat up over the next two months. Four Division I FBS programs (Georgia Southern, Ole Miss, Oregon State and UTEP) are already looking for a new coach. Between now and January, plenty more coaches will resign, be fired or hired away.
Of course, moving on from a coach (or wanting to move on) is the easy part. Finding the replacement is harder. Money is a big reason why.
On Wednesday, USA Today released its annual coaches salaries database. Every year, the numbers get larger and more eye-popping. Alabama coach Nick Saban, for example, is the highest-paid college football coach at just north of $11.1 million in total salary. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney took home the second-most total pay for a coach. In all, 10 coaches were part of the $5 million or more fraternity. It wasn't all that long ago that $5 million was the ceiling for coaches in this sport.
But as we know when it comes to coaching changes, it's not always about the salary as much as it is about the buyout. There are some truly absurd buyouts in college football with nine coaches exceeding $20 million if they were to be fired without cause.
Of course, few of those coaches are on the hot seat, making the buyout amounts mostly a non-factor. However, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz remains the notorious king of buyouts among the $20 million club.
Where the buyouts get more interesting is on each end of the hiring season spectrum: those who are in demand, and those on the hot seat.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, for example, has a school buyout of about $15.8 million. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has roughly a $9.5 million buyout. Neither figure to fired without cause anytime soon, but they could be lured to bigger programs that will have to pony up for the buyout clause.
But Florida coach Jim McElwain might be out of a job if he doesn't turn things around. His buyout is near $13 million. LSU coach Ed Orgeron's buyout is close to $8.8 million according to the database, and the school is already paying former coach Les Miles $9 million in buyout money. Keep in mind these figures aren't exact because of various pro-rating and retention amounts.
You can review the entire database for yourself, but the overall theme is that whatever you chose to do in life, you chose the wrong profession.