Ranking the Big Ten football coach salaries for 2021

·3 min read

The salaries of college football head coaches have soared in recent years as schools have made massive financial commitments in hopes of building winning programs.

Several Big Ten coaches, including James Franklin, Ryan Day and Mel Tucker rank among the highest-paid coaches in the nation.

With the 2021 regular season in the books, we’re interested in which Big Ten teams got the biggest bang for their bucks in regard to head coach earnings.

Rutgers Wire ranks the earnings of the conference’s head football coaches in the list below.

[Source: USA TODAY coaching salary database]

Also see:
Ranking the Pac-12 football coach salaries

The Big Ten Wires Network:
Michigan / Michigan St. / Ohio St. / Penn St. / Rutgers / Wisconsin

James Franklin

Penn State head coach James Franklin
Penn State head coach James Franklin

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Penn State Nittany Lions

Total pay: $7,000,000

2021 record: 7-5 (4-5 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: unknown

Ryan Day

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day

(Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Ohio State Buckeyes

Total pay: $6,614,693

2021 record: 10-2 (8-1 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $28,416,668

Pat Fitzgerald

Pat Fitzgerald
Pat Fitzgerald

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Northwestern Wildcats

Total pay: $5,748,179

2021 record: 3-9 (1-8 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: unknown

Mel Tucker

Michigan State football head coach Mel Tucker
Michigan State football head coach Mel Tucker

(Lansing State Journal photo / USA TODAY Network)

Program: Michigan State Spartans

Total pay: $5,566,303

2021 record: 10-2 (7-2 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $19,284,375

Scott Frost

Scott Frost
Scott Frost

(Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Total pay: $5,000,000

2021 record: 3-9 (1-8 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $20,416,667

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Iowa Hawkeyes

Total pay: $5,000,000

2021 record: 10-3 (7-2 Big Ten, division champions)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $16,503,333

P.J. Fleck

P.J. Fleck
P.J. Fleck

(Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Total pay: $4,420,000

2021 record: 8-4 (6-3 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $15,851,875

Jeff Brohm

Jeff Brohm
Jeff Brohm

(Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Purdue Boilermakers

Total pay: $4,417,774

2021 record: 8-4 (6-3 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $18,966,667

Paul Chryst

Paul Chryst
Paul Chryst

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Wisconsin Badgers

Total pay: $4,362,750

2021 record: 8-4 (6-3 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $19,103,724

Tom Allen

Indiana head coach Tom Allen
Indiana head coach Tom Allen

(Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Indiana Hoosiers

Total pay: $4,260,000

2021 record: 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $30,000,000

Bret Bielema

Bret Bielema
Bret Bielema

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Illinois Fighting Illini

Total pay: $4,200,000

2021 record: 5-7 (4-5 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $15,138,425

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh

(Detroit Free Press photo / USA TODAY Network)

Program: Michigan Wolverines

Total pay: $4,030,901

2021 record: 12-1 (8-1 Big Ten, conference champions)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $4,444,444

Greg Schiano

Greg Schiano
Greg Schiano

(Jeremy Hogan photo / Sipa USA via AP Images)

Program: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Total pay: $4,000,000

2021 record: 5-7 (2-7 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $19,218,750

Mike Locksley

Mike Locksley
Mike Locksley

(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Program: Maryland Terrapins

Total pay: $2,538,100

2021 record: 6-6 (3-6 Big Ten)

Buyout as of Dec. 1, 2021: $6,138,426

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