Bill Belichick's two-year run as America's highest-paid coach has come to an end. That title now belongs to Sean Payton, the fellow NFL coach who will be paid around $8 million per year to lead the New Orleans Saints for the next five seasons.
Payton's future employment was something of a mystery at the end of last year when the NFL voided his contract extension with the Saints, making him a free agent at season's end. But New Orleans, not keen on letting the franchise's first Super Bowl-winning coach skip town, quickly locked up Payton with the rich contract offer.
Not only has Belichick been knocked off of his top spot, but he doesn't even get sole possession of the No. 2 place on our list. He is now tied with Andy Reid, who picked up a new coaching gig in Kansas City just days after losing his job in Philadelphia, where he won nearly 60 percent of his games and made the NFC Championship five times. Official terms of Reid's new five-year contract were never announced, but we estimate the head coach will make at least $7.5 million annually leading the Chiefs.
As per usual, the NFL dominates our list, taking up eight of the 10 spots. The only two non-football coaches on our list come from the NBA: Boston's Doc Rivers ($7 million) and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich ($6 million). The two coaches share longevity, with a combined 25 years of service at their current jobs, and undeniable success, with five titles between them.
Such high pay is rare in the NBA, where only a select few coaches like Chicago's Tom Thibodeau or Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks manage to clear more than $4 million annually.
There are three new names on our list this year: Payton, the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin and the Eagles' Chip Kelly. Coughlin received a three-year, $20 million extension last summer, and Kelly was lured to Philly from the University of Oregon with a five-year, $32.5 million deal. The new names replace NFL coaches Mike Tomlin, who just missed the cut, and Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt, who lost their head coach positions since the end of last season.
The average coach on our list makes nearly $7 million a year, up from the $6.45 million average salary of last year's list. Winning is obviously a key component to earning a top salary, and the 10 coaches on our list have collected 13 titles over their careers as pro coaches. Two list members without championship rings are rookie coach Kelly and Seattle's Pete Carroll, both of whom proved their value at the college level.
Our list is limited to coaches in American pro and college sports (none from the college ranks, led by Nick Saban's $5.3 million-a-year salary, made the cut), but had we included international soccer coaches they would have dominated the list. At least six soccer managers are thought to make upwards of $10 million each season, led by Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and his $20 million-per-year salary. Manchester United's Alex Ferguson, who recently announced his retirement after creating $385 million in team value over his 26 years, was reportedly making $12 million per year.
Here are the top three coaching salaries in American sports:
1. $8 million – Sean Payton (NFL, New Orleans Saints)
2. $7.5 million – Bill Belichick (NFL, New England Patriots) and Andy Reid (NFL, Kansas City Chiefs)
3. $7 million – Pete Carroll (NFL, Seattle Seahawks), Jeff Fisher (NFL, St. Louis Rams), Doc Rivers (NBA, Boston Celtics), Mike Shanahan (NFL, Washington Redskins)
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