It pays to be Ryan Day.
The Ohio State head coach recently inked a lucrative extension to remain in Columbus through the 2026 season. His significant pay raise comes on the heels of earning another berth to the College Football Playoff.
And while the Buckeyes came up short in their title quest, the future continues to be bright. Day and his staff wrapped up a top-five recruiting class and bring back one of the most dynamic players in the country in quarterback Justin Fields.
Of course, the added compensation will lead to added pressure for the 40-year-old head coach. But if his first full season at the helm proved anything, it’s that Day is the right man for the job.
Ryan Day’s career path to Ohio State
As one of the youngest head coaches in college football, Day is still writing his career narrative. He rose through the ranks like many others before him—working as a graduate assistant and position coach before earning more responsibilities.
Following stints at Boston College and Temple, he briefly worked in the NFL as a quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Eventually, he landed in Columbus as co-offensive coordinator.
What transpired over the next few seasons certainly wasn’t expected.
With Urban Meyer embattled in yet another controversy, Day’s role expanded. He won three games as the interim head coach before taking over the head coaching spot following Meyer’s retirement in January 2019.
In his first full season as a head coach at any level, Day steered the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record and a berth in the playoffs. Day’s fantastic debut helped him earn the Dave McClain Coach of the Year Award, which is given out to the top coach in the Big Ten Conference.
Day now one of the top-paid coaches in college football
Coming off a highly successful first year, Day proved himself worthy of a contract extension.
However, it would be a stretch to say anyone saw this type of deal coming.
In late February, the New Hampshire native received a three-year contract extension that bumps his 2020 salary to $6 million. That figure places him amongst the top-10 highest-paid coaches in college football.
By 2022, his $7.6 million salary would push him near the top-five behind more established coaches like Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
It’s clear that the Buckeyes believe in their young head coach and expect him to continue building on the infrastructure that Meyer established in his seven-year run as the man in charge.
Day’s new deal should fend off competition from NFL
Most importantly, however, Day’s contract should send signals to both the NFL and other college programs that he’s not going anywhere.
While his buyout clause is not expensive, the long-term commitment and hefty pay bump should put Buckeyes fans at ease. That stability should be a welcomed sight after dealing with Meyer for nearly a decade.
As we’ve seen with the Carolina Panthers’ recent hiring of Matt Rhule, money talks. And even coaches like Rhule and Mel Tucker proclaimed their loyalty to their respective programs, they didn’t hesitate to jump at high-paying opportunities.
But with Day and Ohio State, the money is talking. And it’s saying he’s here to stay.