A new contract extension approved Tuesday added two years to the Alabama football coach’s term while increasing his pay to record levels. With the raise, Saban is believed to be the highest paid coach in the nation making $5.3 million next season and nearly $6 million in his final contracted year of 2019.
All but one Crimson Tide assistant also received raises and the two new hires had contracts approved in the same teleconference meeting of the board of trustees’ compensation committee. Each returning coach received an extra year while Saban was granted his first extension since August of 2009.
The contract talks began in January, soon after Alabama won its second national title in three seasons. Saban said the deal assures he’ll be with the Tide “for the rest of our career.”
“We made that decision after the season when other people were interested,” said Saban who is 55-12 in his five seasons with Alabama.
He did not identify those who reached out or how serious they were about luring him away from Tuscaloosa. But he made it clear there wouldn’t be another jump coming as he enters his sixth Alabama — his longest tenure as a head coach.
The new deal calls for annual raises of $100,000 after receiving a $50,000 bump in 2013. Saban will make a total of $45 million over next eight seasons before bonuses and averages to $5.6 million a year.
A USA Today database listed Texas’ Mack Brown as the top earner in 2011. He made about $5.2 million in base pay last season followed by Saban ($4.8 million) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($4.1 million).
By contrast, Saban made $3.5 million in his first Alabama season of 2007. His contract has been amended four times since then. An extension and raise followed the 2009 national title that pushed his contract through the 2017 season. That amendment called for a $4.2 million salary in 2017 while the new one pushes the figure to $5.8 million.
Alabama receiver Kenny Bell won’t be around when Saban’s contract expires, but appreciates the significance of the deal.
“It put a smile on everybody’s face,” said Bell, a rising junior. “They know they are going to have a great coach for as long as he’s here. It’s a good thing.”
While happy to get the extension in place, Saban said he “wasn’t involved at all,” in the negotiation process.
“They sorta decided what they wanted to do and you decide it was good enough,” Saban said. “It was certainly good enough for me.”
The issue of assistant coaches’ pay was on Saban’s mind.
Raises were essential to keep the staff in place.
“It’s imperative that we keep continuity and we have an opportunity to be competitive salary-wise with other schools who are trying to hire our coaches,” he said. “It doesn’t really what my opinion is or what anyone else’s opinion is or anyone else’s opinion. The market is what it is and if we’re not willing to pay that to the best people that we have, they’re not going to be here.”
The highest-paid assistant remains defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. His pay will jump to $950,000 annually from $850,000 in a deal running through 2015.
New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will make $590,000 a year for the next three seasons. His predecessor and new Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain made $510,000 last fall. New linebackers coach Lance Thompson’s contract calls for a $375,000 salary over two seasons.
The other assistants received raises ranging from 3.5 to 15.5 percent. The only on-field coach whose contract didn’t change was offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
The second-year coach was named in a Yahoo Sports investigation into potential recruiting violations during his time at Miami.
“I think as a university we make decisions because we think it’s the right thing to do,” Saban said. “In the future, I think Jeff Stoutland deserves to get a raise based on the merit of the work that he’s done here, but I also think it wouldn’t be smart on our part to ignore other things that have happened. So, it is what it is.”
Nick Saban’s annual base pay as scheduled in the amended contract:
- 2012: $5,316,666.67
- 2013: $5,366,666.67
- 2014: $5,466,666.67
- 2015: $5,566,666.67
- 2016: $5,666,666.67
- 2017: $5,766,666.67
- 2018: $5,866,666.67
- 2019: $5,966,666.67
Contract amendments included pay raises and an additional season.
- Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier: 3 years, $590,000 a season.
- Linebackers coach Lance Thompson: 2 years, $375,000
- Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart: From $850,000 to $950,000 (through 2015)
- Running backs coach Burton Burns: From $280,000 to $290,000
- Strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran: From $310,000 to $325,000
- Wide receivers coach Mike Groh: From $250,000 to $285,000
- Secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt: From $225,000 to $260,000
- Defensive line coach Chris Rumph: From $288,750 to $310,000
- Tight ends/special teams Bobby Williams: From $315,000 to $350,000