USA TODAY Sports released a survey of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football on Tuesday afternoon.
Many of the top spots are dominated by SEC coaches, but the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten all had at least one coordinator break into the top 10.
The 2020 edition of the USA TODAY Sports survey came with an additional category due to the unique circumstances of the season. The release made sure to include if any of the coaches took a pay reduction amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s take a deeper look at the top-8 highest-paid assistants in the game:
Unsurprisingly Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele came in tied at No. 1.
The 46-year-old Crimson Tide OC made $2.5 million during the 2020 season as a part of one of the top programs in the country. Sarkisian continues to be one of the most respected coordinators at the college level and a possible successor to Nick Saban. Before arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2019, he spent time as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. He also served as the head coach at both Washington and USC.
Steele tied with Sarkisian, also making $2.5 million in 2020. The 62-year-old DC has been with Auburn since 2016 and helped to raise the program to be a fierce SEC competitor. It’s possible that Steele could inherit the Tigers head coaching gig after the firing of Guz Malzahn.
— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) December 15, 2020
Alone at No. 3 is LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. The 53-year-old assistant came back to Baton Rouge to take the role in 2020, making $2,276,250 this season. He previously spent four years as the head coach at Youngstown State.
Brent Venables became the first ACC assistant to crack the list at No. 4. The long-time Clemson assistant cashed $2,161,500 this season and took one of the largest reductions among the top earners.
Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko clocked in at No. 5. The 43-year-old marked the last assistant to make over $2 million by earning $2.1 million in 2020.
Florida’s Todd Grantham came next, making just north of $1.8 million this year. Oklahoma’s DC Alex Grinch was the only Big 12 assistant on the list at No. 7.
Michigan’s Don Brown rounded out the top-8 highest-paid college football assistants, totaling $1.7 million earned in 2020. The Wolverines defensive coordinator went through a tough year that saw his program finish 2-4.
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