We know that college football coaches can make seven figures. From Nick Saban’s $8 million on down, it’s a lucrative job for those who climb the ranks and elevate their schools. However, this does not mean that being an assistant coach lacks perks. The highest-paid assistant coaches in college football can still make more than most head coaches do in college football.
7. Greg Schiano, Ohio State: $1.5 million
Before leaving Ohio State for a gone-before-it-started tenure on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England, Greg Schiano had a nice gig with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. One look at Schiano’s resume shows he has a deeper resume than the average assistant coach.
Not only does he have 10 years of head-coaching experience at Rutgers, but he spent two disastrous years in the NFL as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
6. Jim Leavitt, Oregon: $1.7 million
Jim Leavitt resigned from Oregon despite his healthy pay, leaving many wondering why. In September, he signed with Florida State University, not as a defensive coordinator, as he was in Oregon, but as an analyst. There appears to be no record of what his current pay is.
5. Todd Orlando, Texas: $1.71 million
Widely considered to be one of the best defensive minds in college football, Todd Orlando has been coaching for over 24 years. His collegiate career started at UConn, where he was defensive coordinator from 2005 to 2010. After stops at Florida International, Utah State, and Houston, Orlando signed a lucrative deal with Texas, where he is now in his third season as defensive coordinator.
4. Mike Elko, Texas A&M: $1.8 million
Mike Elko’s payday got even richer after the 2018 season. Already making just south of $2 million in 2018, he signed a contract this past offseason. Elko was hired away from Notre Dame in 2017 but oddly played without a contract the first season despite his hefty pay. Before running the Texas A&M defense, he was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame’s legendary football program.
3. Kevin Steele, Auburn: $2.05 million
Kevin Steele has been a coach at both the college and NFL levels. Now at Auburn, his presence was immediately felt upon signing in 2016. Steele has worked for both LSU and Alabama as a defensive coordinator; he was the head coach at Baylor for four seasons, and he served as an executive head coach at Florida State. In the mid-’90s, Steele was linebacker coach for the Carolina Panthers.
2. Brent Venables, Clemson: $2.2 million
Not only is Brent Venables part of the defending champions’ coaching squad, but he also has the richest agreement ever signed by an assistant coach at five years, $11.6 million. Venables left Oklahoma University’s sidelines for Clemson back in 2012. Since then, he’s made a name for himself as one of the top defensive minds in the game behind Dabo Swinney.
1. Dave Aranda, LSU: $2.5 million
Dave Aranda‘s salary would’ve made him the 54th highest-paid head coach in college football. One of the most sought-after college coaches, Aranda declined an offer from Texas A&M because LSU gave him a number that was impossible to turn down. His defense has been a staple at the program, and his synergy with Ed Orgeron is among the best in college football.