A perfect example of just how big of a business college football has become is the salaries of head coaches. For example, Nick Saban, the head coach of Alabama, is the highest paid state employee, not just in the state of Alabama, but in the entire United States.
Saban takes home $7.09 million according to the Wall Street Journal, and the trend of the highest paid employee in each state being a CFB head coach isn’t just an Alabama or SEC thing. In 39 of the 50 states, the top paid state employee was a college football coach or college basketball coach. Behind Saban are Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), John Calipari (Kentucky), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).
It’s not that surprising to see Saban making more money than anyone in his field: Since leaving the NFL and returning to the SEC, Saban has helped bring back the Tide to the top of the sport. They’re the winningest program in college football since 2008, and has led them to 4 national titles (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015). Alabama football brings the university $95 million in revenue, almost $47 million in profit, helping justify the big money their head coach make. Things aren’t that different for a lot of other big-name schools, who sometimes surpass the popularity of the state NFL team(s). In Alabama, like in a lot of SEC states, there are no NFL teams, sometimes no pro team at all from the four major leagues.