Six years ago, 42 major college football coaches made at least $1 million. Today, 42 make at least $2 million. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is one of them, though he could be making more — a lot more.
Swinney, who makes a shade more than $2 million, has transferred raises triggered by clauses in his contract to his assistants, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to another growing class in college football — highly paid assistant coaches.
"Part of my philosophy was, I've got this money that was due me, and I don't need it," Swinney says. "I make plenty of money. Why can't I choose to invest some of that money in what we're trying to do as a program?"
The result: Swinney is the nation's 39th most highly paid head coach, and his assistants, who carry a cumulative price tag of $4.2 million, appear to be the nation's most highly paid.
The average annual salary for head coaches at major colleges (not including four schools that moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision this season) is $1.64 million, up nearly 12% over last season — and more than 70% since 2006, when USA TODAY Sports began tracking coaches' compensation.