MU head football coach Gary Pinkel signed an amended contract on Wednesday that will make him the 8th highest-paid football coach in the Southeastern Conference. Pinkel is set to make $3.1 million through 2020, an increase from the $2.8 million that he made last year.
The raise comes after Pinkel guided the Tigers to a 12-1 season in which they were SEC East champions. They lost to Auburn in the SEC championship game before beating Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Pinkel also surpassed legendary MU football coach Don Faurot for first place on MU’s all-time wins list with his 102nd career win at MU with the Cotton Bowl victory.
Pinkel’s new contract makes him the 11th out of 14 SEC coaches to make at least $3 million per year. But even with his $3.1 million per year, Pinkel is still only the 8th highest-paid coach in the conference. The SEC boasts the highest average coach salary in college football. USA Today database reporter and editor Steve Berkowitz believes the level of competition is driving up these salaries.
“Some of these guys have become very desirable and marketable guys even outside of college football. There was interest from pro teams in Kevin Sumlin and, in order to keep him, Texas A&M gave him a new contract that’s going to pay him $5 million a year,” said Berkowitz.
The high level of competition the SEC offers makes the coaches very appealing to professional teams. Before Florida State won the 2013 BCS National Championship game, an SEC team won the previous 7 national championships. This type of success drives up interest in SEC coaches, both at the college level and the professional level.
“The coaches’ success tends to result in schools being willing to pay more money to keep them,” said Berkowitz.
Another benefit of Pinkel’s new salary is that he now has more funding for his assistants. The amended contract will increase the salary pool for his assistant coaches from $2.66 million to $3.2 million. This trend is not uncommon in the SEC, though.
“It’s equally interesting, in that same way, that the assistant coach compensation in the SEC is also, relatively speaking against assistant coach pay, is also extremely high,” said Berkowitz.