Jimbo Fisher’s lucrative contract to coach Texas A&M is still a topic of conversation two months after he signed the deal.
A&M gave Fisher $75 million over 10 years to leave Florida State to coach the Aggies. That $75 million figure, which is fully guaranteed, is unprecedented in coaching and A&M has received its fair share of criticism in the weeks since.
That continued last week at a Board of Trustees Compensation Committee meeting when Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith called the contract “ridiculous.”
“I don’t even put Texas A&M in our sphere because I’m considering Urban [Meyer]’s situation with three years left on his contract,” Smith said during Ohio State’s Board of Trustees’ Talent and Compensation Committee meeting Thursday. “Talking with [Susan Basso, vice president of human resources] and [Joanna McGoldrick, associate vice president of total rewards], that’s not even someone that we’re comparing with because it’s so ridiculous.
“It’s the same way with Alabama and their total salary. Take it off the sheet because it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just no value to it. It’s a reactionary type of management.”
Ohio State paid head coach Urban Meyer $6.4 million for the 2017 season, slotting him behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, per USA Today’s coaching salary database. Saban led all coaches with his $11 million salary.
Fisher’s new deal will pay him $7.5 million annually, which would put him between Swinney ($8.5 million) and Harbaugh ($7.0 million), but the length and guaranteed payouts from Fisher’s contract make it an outlier.
Even with three years remaining before it expires, Meyer’s contract came up during the Board’s meeting last Thursday. Smith seemed to be making the point that Fisher’s contract is not commensurate with even the upper echelon of coaching salaries, like Meyer’s.
Rocky Long, the longtime coach of San Diego State, voiced a similar sentiment, albeit from a coach’s perspective. He said back in December that he was “embarrassed” by the kind of money being paid to coaches these days.
“I’m embarrassed that coaches are making that kind of money. Obviously I’m making good money here, nothing like that, but I’m making good money here and I appreciate that because when I got into coaching there was no such thing as coaches making the kind of money we’re making now,” Long said on XTRA 1360 in San Diego.
“Any time a football coach gets a 10-year contract for $75 million or whatever that was for, that embarrasses me. I’m sure that their program makes money and I’m sure that he does a great job but he doesn’t make one tackle, he doesn’t catch one pass, he doesn’t score one touchdown. We’re not only in this to have a salary. We’re in this to develop young men, so it’s embarrassing at times.”
A&M is obviously hoping its investment in Fisher pays off with wins on the field. If if doesn’t and the school finds itself looking for another coach, there will still be a ton of money heading Fisher’s way.
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