Lane Kiffin has won all of 12 games in a little over two years as head coach at Tennessee and the Oakland Raiders, neither of which seemed very appreciative of his efforts as he slinked out of town. As far as USC is concerned, though, they're all worth their weight in gold: According to a report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," set to air Tuesday night, Kiffin will make $4 million a year at USC, or roughly $333,333 per career win to date.
That number is twice what Kiffin made at Tennessee and makes him one of the highest-paid college coaches in the country. It puts the 35-year-old, would-be wunderkind on par with established veterans Mack Brown, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Les Miles and Bob Stoops, and ahead of Jim Tressel – all of whom have won at least 12 games in a season en route to national championships clearly of their own making.
Kiffin's venerable father/defensive coordinator, 70-year-old Monte Kiffin, is reportedly shattering the record he set at Tennessee as college football's first million-dollar assistant with a salary of "around $2 million" in Los Angeles. It's approximately what he made ($2.2 million) as mastermind of the Super Bowl-winning defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compared to his dad, Lane himself admits during one of the interviews, "I haven't done anything." But he is being rewarded handsomely for it.
As a private school, USC doesn't release employees' salaries (or confirm them if they're leaked, as is the case in the HBO episode). But the Chronicle of Higher Education reported last year that Kiffin's predecessor and former boss, Pete Carroll, was the highest-paid private university employee in America at $4.4 million a year after delivering seven straight Pac-10 titles and a pair of national championships (both with the younger Kiffin on staff). Second on that list was Columbia University dermatologist David Silvers at $4.3 million a year, with countless presidents, scientists, doctors and Nobel Prize winners trailing far behind. To paraphrase, never was so much given by so many for so little – but hey, what's skin cancer compared to a good interview, the right last name and an athletic director running out of options as the end of recruiting season approached?
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