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Big 12 Football: Assistants At Texas And The Two Oklahoma Schools Make More Than Many Head Coaches

The pay of assistant coaches in college football is increasing at a faster rate than the head coaches, which is why a number of assistants make more than many head coaches.

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Mike Gundy, head football  coach at Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy, head football coach at Oklahoma State

We read and hear a lot about the piles of money paid to head coaches in college football, especially the best of the best and those at major universities with strong football traditions. But what about the assistants who work alongside and under the head coach. You might be surprised to find out that a number of top college assistant coaches are making out like bandits in the compensation area, as well.

According to research conducted by USA Today in its third annual survey of assistant football coaches' compensation, the average football assistant made 11 percent more in pay in 2011 than the year before, and 18 percent more than in 2009. Over the past two years, the average annual pay for an assistant coach has increased to $182,000 from $155,000.

Over that same two-year time period, the average pay for a head coach at an FBS school has grown by seven percent to $1.47 million, USA Today reports. After winning the BCS national championship in 2011, Auburn increased the pay of its assistant coaches by 43 percent to a nation-best $4.2 million. The assistants on the staff of Auburn coach Gene Chizik received an average increase of $466,000 this season, an amount that is greater than the annual salaries of at least 25 head coaches among the 120 FBS schools.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, is that of the 15 top-paid coaching staffs in college football, seven are from the Southeastern Conference. Additionally, nine of 16 highest paid assistants in 2011 are on SEC staffs.

The assistant coaches at Texas earn the most in the Big 12 ($3.6 million) and rank fourth in the country behind, in order, Auburn, LSU and Alabama. The coaching staff at Oklahoma State will make $2.8 million this year and the assistants at Oklahoma $2.7 million, based on USA Today's 2011 survey figures.

While the coaching staffs at Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma rank fourth, ninth and tenth, respectively, on a national scale in terms of annual pay, only Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin, who just completed their first year as defensive and offensive coordinator at Texas, are among the top 16 nationally. Both Diaz and Harsin were paid $625,000 in 2011.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn heads the list of top-paid assistants in 2011, with total pay of $1.3 million. Ironically, Malzahn was named last week the new head coach at Arkansas State, which paid its head coach just slightly more than $200,000 this past season. Malzahn was making more at Auburn than the total staff payrolls at 40 FBS schools in 2011 and more than the combined pay of the head coach and assistant coaches at 24 schools.

The next highest-paid assistant was Charlie Weiss, who was paid $875,000 at Florida this season as offensive coordinator. Earlier this month, Weiss agreed to head-coaching contract at Kansas that will pay him $2.5 million a year for five years.

According to the two previous assistant coaches' compensation surveys fielded by USA Today, in 2009 five assistants made at least $500,000 and 13 at least $400,000, In 2010, 11 assistants were at the $500,000 level and 26 were at $400,000. This year, the numbers have grown to 23 making a minimum of $500,000 and 48 exceeding $400,000.

2011 Top-Paid College Football Staffs

Auburn - $4,196,450

LSU - $3,782,869

Alabama - $3,686,350

Texas - $3,616,800

Tennessee - $3,200,800

Florida - $3,120,500

Florida State - $2,894,100

Clemson - $2,874,050

Oklahoma State - $2,770,000

Oklahoma - $2,692,700

Georgia - $ 2,671,400

Michigan - $2,560,000

Ohio State - $2,553,550

Colorado - $2,490,000

Mississippi - $2,460,654

Source: USA Today data base

2011 Big 12 All-Coaches Pay

(Assistants-only pay)

Texas - $8.8 million ($3.6 million)

Oklahoma - $6.8 million ($2.7 million)

Missouri - $5.6 million ($2.9 million)

Oklahoma State - $4.8 million ($2.8 million)

Kansas State $4.8 million ($2.9 million)

Texas Tech - $4.2 million ($2.1 million)

Texas A&M - $4.0 million ($1.8 million)

Kansas - $3.9 million ($1.8 million)

Iowa State - $3.9 million ($1.7 million)

Baylor - $1.9 million ($400,000)

Source: USA Today data base

For more information:

Big 12 Conference official website