Jim Harbaugh is college football's highest paid coach on $9m a year

Jim Harbaugh, head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines

Jim Harbaugh, who has led his Michigan Wolverines to a 7-0 start, is the highest paid coach in college football, and will make $9m this year.

Alabama’s Nick Saban, whose 8-0 Crimson Tide currently top the AP’s national rankings, is the second highest paid coach with an annual salary of just under $7m. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ($6m) is third, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.5m) is fourth, and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher ($5.25m) is the fifth best paid, according to USA Today’s annual release of its coaching-salary database.

Harbaugh, 52, received a raise of about $2m this year; last year, in his debut season as Michigan head coach, he earned about $7m. Harbaugh’s salary includes two $2m interest-free loans in the form of annual life-insurance premium payments – one of which he received on 3 June and the other he will receive if he’s still coaching Michigan on 6 December.

By comparison, the highest-paid NFL coaches are Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks. They will earn $8m in 2016.

The data showed that the SEC had the highest median coach salary at just over $4m. The Big 12 was second with $3.5m, followed by the Pac-12 ($3.1m), the Big Ten ($2.75m) and then the ACC ($2.5m).

Harbaugh, who played three seasons as the Wolverines’ starting quarterback in the 1980s, is 17-3 in two seasons as the top man in Ann Arbor. He left the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, despite leading them to a pair of NFC Championship games, and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII against the Ravens, who are coached by Harbaugh’s older brother John.

Twenty coaches are set to earn at least $4m this year. There were no $4m coaches until 2007.

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