Jan 12, 2024 - Sports

University of Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian in line for raise

Steve Sarkisian gestures triumphantly to a crowd.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Texas Longhorns. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Back up the Brinks truck — University of Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian is about to make some major bank.

The big picture: Sarkisian's base salary is already $5.6 million this year — but he has primo leverage for a big pay hike.

  • In his third season at UT he led the Longhorns to the brink of the national championship game and a 12-2 record, reviving a moribund program that for so long has been the marketing and fundraising engine of the university.
  • And he has shown himself adept at recruiting and retaining players in the brave new world of college football, in which transfer portals and name-image-likeness deals are as key to building rosters as relationships with high school coaches.

Plus: The retirement of Nick Saban from the University of Alabama means UT will doubly want to shower money on Sarkisian to make sure he stays put.

  • Sarkisian served as offensive coordinator at Alabama briefly in 2017 and again in 2019 and 2020.

By the numbers: As of early this past season, Sarkisian's base salary ranked him 30th in the country among head football coaches.

  • It also was less than 12 coaches in the Southeastern Conference, the league Texas will join July 1.

Of note: Sarkisian, who has three years left on his contract, has received $300,000 in incentive bonuses to bring his current pay to $5.9 million.

Flashback: After the UT Longhorns men's basketball team reached the Elite Eight in March, head coach Rodney Terry was awarded a five-year, $15.3 million contract.

What they're saying: "I believe Sarkisian would say no to any interest from Tide athletic director Greg Byrne … because he has less scrutiny at Texas, lives in a better city than Tuscaloosa and is rebuilding a proud and storied program instead of just adding on to Saban's glory," longtime columnist Kirk Bohls noted in the Statesman.

The bottom line: Don't be surprised if Sarkisian's new salary tops $10 million.

  • Recently canned Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was pulling down a shade over $9 million — and he never led the Aggies to the College Football Playoff.
  • Befitting college football's top coach, Saban had the nation's highest base salary, at $11.4 million.

By the way: Don't shed a tear for Fisher. His buyout tops $76 million, including annual payments of $7.2 million through 2031.

What's next: The University of Texas System Board of Regents' next scheduled meeting is Feb. 21 and 22 — but it could call a special board meeting sooner to ink contract terms.

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