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Being a fired college football head coach is the best job

Jimbo Fisher (r.) chatting with Zach Arnett, possibly about how Fisher is going to spend his millions in severance.

Jimbo Fisher (r.) chatting with Zach Arnett, possibly about how Fisher is going to spend his millions in severance.
Photo: Getty Images

Being a coach is a tough and thankless job. It’s a profession where everybody thinks they can do your job better than you, which often leads to a high turnover rate — especially when you’re the head coach of a Power Five college football team. But, being fired isn’t so bad when you have a million-dollar parachute.

Just weeks after Texas A&M proved that schools have more than enough money to pay student-athletes — after recently fired head coach Jimbo Fisher is set to receive more than $76 million due to his buyout, on top of the 10-year, $75 million fully guaranteed deal he initially signed in 2017 — the university owes a minimum of $119 million to head football coaches before 2031 between Fisher ($77 million) and new head coach Mike Elko ($42 million), according to a report from Front Office Sports.

“Let me be very clear in this next part: Texas A&M athletics and the 12th Man Foundation will be the sole sources of the necessary funds covering these transition costs,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork about the tabs.

This isn’t just a “Texas thing,” either. Fired coaches around the country are walking away with huge paydays. Check this out from the rest of the report:

  • Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher: $76 million
  • Indiana’s Tom Allen: $15.5 million
  • Houston’s Dana Holgorsen: $14.8 million
  • Mississippi State’s Zach Arnett: $4.5 million
  • Syracuse’s Dino Babers: $4 million (estimate; private school)
  • Boise State’s Andy Avalos: $3 million
  • New Mexico’s Danny Gonzales: $400,000

Mind you, this list doesn’t even include the $80 million that Michigan State would have owed Mel Tucker if they hadn’t been able to fire him with cause, as it was a way for the school not to have to pay his buyout.

Don’t ever tell me that schools don’t know where the funds would come from to pay student-athletes. The money has always been there. They just don’t want to give it to the people who make the money — the players.

Coincidentally enough, these same outrageous spending habits are taking place in the NFL. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is expected to pay around $85 million after firing head coach Josh McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and other members of his coaching staff. This is after he had previously given former coach Jon Gruden a 10-year, $100 million contract. Last season, the NFL informed owners that they’d spent $800 million on coaches and front-office executives who don’t even work for them anymore over the previous five years. According to the report, at one time, the Panthers, Colts and Titans, were paying a minimum of $69 million with 12 years remaining on the contracts of former employees. The Giants were paying three different coaching staffs in 2022.

Major League Baseball may be where the money is for athletes. But football pays the best when it comes to getting fired.




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