Mac Engel

College football coaches in Texas make the big bucks. But they’re not the only ones

If you are lucky enough to be the head golf coach at Texas A&M, you are down to make $209,100, which is dog food compared to the head men’s golf coach at the University of Texas, who makes $275K.

The head women’s basketball coach at UTEP makes $246,000, or $700 less than the defensive coordinator for a Miners football program that is currently 1-4.

And if you are the the head women’s bowling coach at Sam Houston State university you pull in $73,584.

These are a few examples taken from state schools in Texas, but they reflect the entire country.

If you want to look at least one reason why the NCAA and its member schools are in an alligator-fight against student-athletes being paid, look no further than the ledgers and just how much money is spent to pay coaches, and staffers.

“The other side of student-athlete benefits has always been coach and staff compensation,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

While the men’s basketball and football coaches are routinely roasted for their bloated salaries, they are hardly alone. They are merely the ones who are noticed.

With coaches’ salaries in virtually every sport spiraling toward the outer edges of insanity, finding logic and reason to claim that athletic departments are broke is absurd.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Request to eight public universities in Texas to see how much an array of coaching positions in varied athletic departments were paid for the previous academic calendar year. Included are the University of Texas, University of Houston, Texas A&M, Texas State, UTEP, North Texas, Sam Houston State and Texas Tech.

The results speak for themselves; that losing money in college sports is lucrative for an individual.

This is not a case for or against paying student-athletes; this is an exercise in showing just how much money exists in a “losing” athletic department.

“We are making more money than ever,” TCU director of athletics Jeremiah Donati said, “but we are spending more money than ever.”

Mind-numbing math

When the news broke in the spring of the now-infamous college admission scandal that included non-revenue sport coaches essentially trading spots on a team in exchange for cash, one piece should have stopped your dog.

One of the people implicated in the scandal was University of Texas men’s tennis coach Michael Center, who made $232,338 a year to coach a team that does not generate dime one for the school. That is more than twice what the average college graduate in the U.S. makes at his age.

Center is hardly alone; there are scores of people in similar positions who make well over six figures coaching a program that is, technically, a financial drain. Non-revenue coaching jobs are demanding, competitive and, in the end, are all losers even for those who win the most.

The numbers make no sense, and every single athletic director across the nation rolls their eyes at the financial figures. This is also the norm of NCAA athletics.

“Whatever resource the athletic department has they typically spend it; they operate hand to mouth,” Bowlbsy said. “The difference between the college athletics model and the pro athletics model is they manage to a profit. We manage to a zero outcome, or something marginally above zero.

“If there is $300,000 left, they are going to find something to do with it.”

Therein lies what should be the issue with direct student-athlete compensation in the form of a check. The money is budgeted, and programs spend it for the sake of spending it to avoid having that figure reduced in an annual budget meeting.

They just spend it on stuff. Or themselves.

The Figures

The following are the salary figures for various positions across Texas.


Head men’s golf coach: $209,100

Asst men’s golf coach, $75,000

Head men’s swimming & diving coach: $90,000

Asst men’s diving coach: $44,760

Asst women’s diving coach: $44,760

Head men’s and women’s track coach: $180,811

Asst women’s basketball coach 1: $205,871

Asst women’s basketball coach 2: $180,999

Asst women’s basketball coach 3: $131,542

Head women’s golf coach: $300,000

Asst women’s golf coach: $62,500

Head women’s swimming coach: $196,249

Asst women’s tennis coach: $63,860

Asst women’s volleyball coach 1: $110,00

Asst women’s volleyball coach 2: $75,000

Head women’s soccer coach: $215,000


Head men’s basketball coach: $725,000

Head women’s rifle coach: $44,000

Head men’s cross country coach: $40,026

Head women’s cross country coach: $40,026

Asst. women’s softball coach 1: $53,453

Asst. women’s softball coach 2: $41,100

Football defensive coordinator: $246,750

Head women’s basketball head coach: $240,000

Head women’s tennis coach: $63,038


Asst baseball coach 1: $103,008

Asst baseball coach 2: $77,256

Head women’s bowling coach: $73,584

Head men’s and women’s golf coach: $76,704

Head softball coach: $66,600

Asst men’s & women’s track coach 1: $45,480

Asst men’s & women’s track coach 2: $40,296

Asst men’s & women’s track coach 3: $32,808

Head men’s & women’s golf coach: $66,960


Head women’s golf coach: $63,159

Head women’s track & field coach: $93,627

Football offensive coordinator: $250,000

Head baseball coach: $110,508

Head softball coach: $88,080

Asst women’s basketball coach: $78,768

Asst volleyball coach: $57,951


Head baseball coach: $1,000,000

Asst baseball coach 1: $175,000

Asst baseball coach 2: $130,000

Football offensive coordinator: $600,000

Head softball coach: $120,000

Men’s & women’s cross country coach: $88,000

Dir. of men’s & women’s track & field, cross cross country: $350,000

Asst basketball men’s coach 1: $350,000

Asst basketball men’s coach 2: $250,000

Asst basketball men’s coach 3: $220,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 1: $260,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 2: $210,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 3: $155,000


Head women’s tennis coach: $209,285

Asst. men’s basketball coach 1: $270,000

Asst. men’s basketball coach 2: $217,500

Asst. women’s basketball coach 1: $155,000

Asst. women’s basketball coach 2: $102,500

Head men’s golf coach: $275,400

Head volleyball coach: $317,500

Asst volleyball coach 1: $118,900

Asst volleyball coach 2: $106,500

Head women’s rowing coach: $205,370

Head associate women’s rowing coach: $67,963

Asst women’s rowing coach: $54,591

Asst women’s rowing coach: $48,000

Head women’s soccer coach: $205,135

Asst women’s soccer coach 1: $75,598

Asst women’s soccer coach 2: $66,000

Asst softball coach 1: $130,000

Asst softball coach 2: $120,000


Football offensive coordinator: $275,000

Football co-defensive coordinator: $295,000

Head softball coach: $80,000

Asst women’s soccer coach: $41,476

Head men’s basketball coach: $507,000

Head women’s basketball coach: $155,00


Football Co-Offensive coordinator: $500,000

Football Co-Offensive coordinator: $400,000

Asst men’s basketball coach 1: $300,000

Asst men’s basketball coach 2: $255,000

Asst men’s basketball coach 3: $220,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 1: $114,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 2: $96,000

Asst women’s basketball coach 3: $84,000

Head men’s & women’s cross country coach: $47,024

Assistant women’s swimming and diving coach 1: $58,500

Assistant women’s swimming and diving coach 2: $46,000

Head volleyball coach: $110,000

Assistant volleyball coach 1: $60,000

The Future

How long can a model that supports a vast majority of programs that do not generate revenue endure?

“The short answer is not forever,” Donati said. “The more thoughtful answer is people will have to start making strategic decisions about the business practices of their department. It could be cutting sports. Look at other schools with smaller budgets, they have the same needs.

“If we do get to a point where we are paying players that would completely devastate these programs and maybe wipe out other programs. You could get to a point where it’s a model of football and the equivalency of (scholarships) to the women’s side. You’d keep basketball and some schools would keep baseball, and the rest would be club sports.”

The money is there. And it’s not just the head coaches of the men’s and women’s basketball teams who are making it.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
Support my work with a digital subscription