The strength and conditioning (S&C) coach wasn't even a position on a college football coaching staff until the late 60s. The first one was hired by Nebraska in 1969, and Boyd Epley's $2 per hour compensation was little more than minimum wage (which at the time was $1.30).
These days, it is one of the highest-paying jobs on a team, sometimes at the same level as the offensive and defensive coordinator.
This may leave you asking: why the rapid change?
First of all, salaries for college coaches are skyrocketing across the board, as universities are making larger and larger profits from the relationship between their athletic programs and the media. Secondly, as college games are becoming faster and more physically demanding because of the no-huddle offense, a team's strength and conditioning activities are more important than ever.
Often, the S&C coach has the best relationship with the players, over anyone else on the staff, due to the significant amount of "face time" they get with team members. Even in the off-season, when the film room is shut down, the work in the weight room never stops.
All of these factors, when combined, have resulted in enormous salaries for the nation's top strength and conditioning coaches. Here are the top eight, in order of their 2015 base salaries:
- Chris Doyle, Iowa – Salary: $515,000
To give an idea how much this position has grown in value, consider the fact that Doyle made about $185,000 just ten years ago. In other words, in one decade Doyle has experienced a 278% pay increase for the same job on the same team. Doyle's program centers on the "Break the Rock" motto, which is all about tenacity and perseverance. The 17 year Iowa veteran is likely to get a raise this year after helping Iowa reach the Rose Bowl last season (though maybe a few extra reps would have saved them from getting blown out by Stanford).
- Mickey Marotti, Ohio State – Salary: $431,558
Head Coach Urban Meyer and S&C Coach Marotti seem to be a football match made in heaven. Together they amassed two national titles at Florida, and when Meyer was signed by the Buckeyes, he knew he had to bring his Marotti with him. Together, they've already taken the Buckeyes to one national championship, and they're hungry for more. Last year with bonuses, Marotti pocketed well over $500k.
- (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
- Scott Cochran, Alabama – Salary: $420,000
Cochran has garnered a lot of media attention lately after Kirby Smart, who was the defensive coordinator for Alabama and is now the head coach at Georgia, tried to sign him with the Bulldogs. This resulted in a bidding war, which ultimately ended in Cochran remaining with the Crimson Tide and receiving a significant raise. Next year, he will likely top this list at over $600,000. Cochran oversees a 37,000 square foot training facility, one of the largest and best in the country. This past season, the Tide won its fourth National Championship in just nine years underneath head coach Nick Saban and Cochran, proving yet again, that they are a killer combo.
- Rob Glass, Oklahoma State – Salary: $401,166
Glass graduated from Oklahoma State in 1984, and worked as a strength coach for them after graduating. He's been in the business now for over 30 years. He was an assistant strength coach when Barry Sanders played for them back in the 80s, then he left in 1995 to help the Gators bulk up for a decade before returning to his alma mater. "Body by Glass" has been on staff for Oklahoma State since 2005. Besides Barry Sanders, he has been the S&C coach for Dez Bryant, Jason Gildon, Thurman Thomas, and Jevon Kearse, just to name a few.
- Paul Jackson, Ole Miss – Salary: $375,000
Jackson has only been out of college for ten years. He is the one of the youngest coaches in the country in his position, and his youth, energy, and honesty have made him a hit on social media. He worked under Tommy Moffit (scroll down to number 8) at LSU for a few years, and now the apprentice has outshined the master (at least as far as salary is concerned). A quote from his Twitter feed (@CoachPJackson) says it all: "Achievement is only possible if your outer goals become inner commitments."
- Ben Herbert, Arkansas – Salary: $340,000
In 2014, Herbert's first season working for the Razorbacks, Arkansas had the largest offensive line in football – college or otherwise. This was partly due to the demanding motivation displayed by Ben Herbert. That year, this team was the only team in the country with multiple 1,000 yard running backs. He has been in the S&C Business for over a decade, mostly in Wisconsin, and his ability to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of his individual players will likely lead to continued success down south.
- Pat Moorer, Texas – Salary: $330,000
Don't underestimate this guy. He won't like it. As a freshman at the University of Florida, he walked on as a linebacker and ended up being the SEC defensive freshman of the year. He brings this same level of pride into the Longhorns' training facility. Moorer came from Louisville with head coach Charlie Strong, taking over for long-time S&C coach Jeff Madden. It's a tough legacy to follow, but Moorer seems up to the task.
- Tommy Moffit, LSU – Salary: $315,000
Have you ever seen Odell Beckham, Jr. run? Or jump (more like fly)? Part of the credit goes to Mr. Moffit. The SEC is known for its strength and toughness, and Moffit has been producing some of the toughest players in the country for LSU since 2000. LSU boasts one of the best training facilities in the nation, and arguably one of the best strength coaches, in this guy.