College football is a booming industry, and that was before players could make money off their likeness. The big money has always been in coaching.
College coaches make a fortune and the salaries only continue to go up with time.
Based on available data, these are the highest-paid coaches in college football for the 2021 season.
Top 5 highest-paid coaches in college football
#1 – Nick Saban, Alabama
Salary: $9.7 million USD
Nick Saban has launched a true dynasty at the University of Alabama. He is taking home nearly $10 million USD in 2021 and easily has the best job security in America.
Saban took the job in 2007 after a failed NFL stint with the Miami Dolphins. That decision has led to him making generational wealth while also making Alabama the gold standard for top college talent.
#2 – Ed Orgeron, LSU
Salary: $9 million USD
Ed Orgeron, or simply "Coach O," assumed the head coaching job at LSU during the 2016 season. Since then, he has won a national championship and is one of only two college coaches to earn over $9 million USD this season.
Orgeron is now struggling since winning the national title in 2019, but if he is cut loose it's not like he will be strapped for cash.
#3 – David Shaw, Stanford
Salary: $8.9 million USD
David Shaw's inclusion on this list may surprise some fans. Shaw's Stanford program has not won a bowl game since 2018 and last reached the Rose Bowl in 2015.
But there is something about Shaw that brings a calming and professional presence to the program. He has only had one losing season since 2011 and has produced top NFL-ready talent on a regular basis. Being able to land top recruits helps him demand that higher pay.
#4 – Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Salary: $8.4 million USD
Dabo Swinney has turned Clemson into a true powerhouse ever since taking over in 2008. He has won two national championships and has had double-digit wins in every season since 2010.
Swinney has been vocal in the past about his desire for players not to get paid. His high salary leads some to call him out for hypocrisy.
#5 – Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
Salary: $7.7 million USD
Lincoln Riley's Oklahoma program has become a quarterback factory of sorts. If you start for Riley, there is a good chance you will be an NFL starting quarterback.
Riley is only 38 years old and can basically choose his next job if the Sooners ever move on from him. It would not be a surprise to see him top this list in a few years.