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Forbes names Brian Kelly best coach for the money

Aug 4, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT


In the high stakes world of college football, head coaches are getting paid more and more to be the face of highly profitable programs. And after Forbes ran their calculations, they named Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly the best coach for the money over the past two seasons.

Kelly beat out Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban for the title, with Kelly’s salary just a fraction of the program’s overall expenses compared to the last two national champs.

Our friends over at CFT give you an idea as to how Forbes reached their conclusions:

To put this list together, Forbes took Sagarin win percentages and a coach’s share of football expenses into consideration. There may be no perfect way to analyze a coach’s value to a program that everyone can agree on, but under the conditions used for this particular ranking this sounds like a good enough way to go about it. Using this method, Kelly comes out on top with the Irish thanks to a 21-5 record and just 3.36 percent of the football program’s expenses.


While Kelly earns other income streams (and as a private institution, Notre Dame doesn’t need to disclose Kelly’s entire compensation), Forbes listed Kelly’s salary as $1,088,179, just over three-percent of the program’s expenses, which measured at $32,373, 258.

Fisher’s $2.75 million salary was almost 12 percent of FSU’s annual costs, while Saban’s $5.5 million was over 13 percent of Alabama’s whopping $41.5 million budget.

Here is the entire Top 10 (salary as percentage of program cost):

1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (3.36%)
2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State (11.74%)
3. Nick Saban, Alabama (13.34%)
4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (8.5%)
5. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina (13.3%)
6. Dabo Swinney, Clemson (12.77%)
7. George O’Leary, Central Florida (10.18%)
8. Tim DeRutyer, Fresno State (7.51%)
9. Pete Lembo, Ball State (6.73%)
10. Art Briles, Baylor (11.95%)

(H/T: College Football Talk)

  1. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM


  2. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM


  3. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Forbes must have some Meatchicken fans in the editing department.

    • flandersst1 - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      So fnc111,

      You are now claiming that not only do you know more about coaching than Brain Kelly, more about recruiting than BK and all of his recruiters, more about quarterback coaching than BK, more about program direction than Jack Swarbrick, but you have now added to your apparently infinite list of superior skills that you know more about valuation than Forbes?

      Just another absurd post … how has no DI school (or junior high school for that matter) ever offered you a head coaching job?

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        They have offered him…but look above….he always shaking his head no.

  4. 25kgold - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Are they taking into account the annual pot of gold we’re giving him, plus the complimentary leprechaun house keeping room service for road games?

  5. footballnut85 - Aug 4, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    And this is relevant why???

    • gtizzo - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      Great question! Some guy from Forbes comes up with statistical nonsense and everyone goes nuts. I wonder if Kelly will comment at his next presser…that should be interesting. “Coach Kelly Forbes thinks your coaching skills are the cheapest in college football thoughts?” I bet some guy from ESPN will ask him…just wait.

      • papadec - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:16 AM

        There is a HUGE difference between “cheapest” and “best coach for the money”. But, I agree with you that some idiot at espn will ask Kelly about it.

  6. onward2victory - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    A. Apparently it’s good to be Pete Lembo

    B. I bet Kelly makes a lot more than $1.1M a year. I wonder where they are getting that figure from.

  7. liv4nd - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    No way he only makes 1.1 Mil a year…CW is still making that much off of us!!!

  8. hui73 - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    In other words, Forbes names Brian Kelly as the most underpaid coach in college football.

  9. shaunodame - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    There just ain’t NO WAY Brian K is only getting paid 1 million tho lol my money is on some where in the range of 4-4.8 million per from ND alone before other sources chip in as well

    • knuterocknesghost - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:36 AM

      Jack Swarbrick recently commented that it’s a nice problem to have when your head coach is mentioned or has a genuine possibility of moving on to the NFL head coaching ranks. It means that other knowledgeable football people agree with your assessment as to your head coach’s ability. But during the last salary negotiation tap dance between JS and BK, I have no doubt that BK’s value was recognized, and it had to be at least equivalent to, if not higher than, the average NFL head coach’s salary which is well above $3 million.

  10. yaketyyacc - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    very true, but being a good head coach does not a good play caller make.

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