In The Past Year And A Half, FIRED Coaches Have Earned $150 Million From Power 5 Schools

By on November 15, 2023 in ArticlesSports News

Over the weekend, Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 51-10. The following day, the school fired Fisher after six seasons at the helm. Texas A&M is giving him a record $76 million over the next eight years, even if he finds a job at another program.

Fisher's buyout is worth more than three times the $21.7 million Gus Malzahn received when Auburn bought him out in 2020, which was the highest-ever buyout at the time. Yet Fisher is hardly the only coach in the past two seasons to be paid to go away.

Since the start of the 2022 season, Power 5 schools have given $146 million to coaches who have been fired. That doesn't include money that Mel Tucker and Pat Fitzgerald could potentially get. They were fired earlier this year, Tucker during a sexual misconduct investigation, and Fitzgerald after a hazing investigation. Both coaches are suing (or planning to sue) their former schools.

Here's a look at each Power 5 coach who's been fired since the start of the 2022 season — plus how much money they'll make from their respective buyouts.

Former Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Bryan Harsin, Auburn — $15.5 million

Auburn didn't seem to learn its lesson with Malzahn. After firing him, the school gave Harsin a six-year, $31.5 million deal. Harsin went 9-12 in a season and a half before Auburn fired him, too. But he'll still make nearly half of his entire contract.

Scott Frost, Nebraska — $15 million

Frost never had a winning season in Nebraska, finishing his career with a 16-31 record in Lincoln before the school fired him in September 2022. He earned about $40 million from the Cornhuskers, nearly $2.5 million per victory. What makes this move even more stunning is that if Nebraska had waited just 20 days to fire Frost, it would have saved $7.5 million in buyout costs.

Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech — $11.4 million

Geoff Collins spent a little more than three seasons at Georgia Tech. He went 10-28, winning just 26% of his games, before the school fired him in October 2022. His buyout was worth more than $1 million per win.

Paul Chryst, Wisconsin — $11 million

At least Paul Chryst had some success at Wisconsin. His Badgers won at least 10 games in four of his first five seasons, peaking in 2017. That year, Wisconsin finished sixth in the Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the AP Poll, ending with a 13-1 record and an Orange Bowl win. But Chryst couldn't put together another season at that level, and after a rough 2-3 start last year, the school fired him.

Karl Dorrell, Colorado — $8.7 million

Colorado fired Dorrell after two-plus seasons and an 8-15 record and had to pay him more than $1 million per victory as part of his buyout. But the Buffs are okay with it — the firing made way for Deion Sanders to join as head coach. In his first season, Sanders has already won half as many games as Dorrell did, and his worth to the school is an estimated $280 million.

Herm Edwards, Arizona State — $4.4 million

Edwards has a memorable press conference on how "you play to win the game," but in this case, he's playing to make millions of dollars. Edwards did have a winning record in each of his full seasons at Arizona State (not counting the Covid-shortened season in 2020), but after a 1-2 start to the 2022 campaign, the Sun Devils parted ways with their coach.

Zach Arnett, Mississippi State — $4 million

Arnett, who became the Mississippi State coach after Mike Leach's death in December 2022, didn't even last a full season with the Bulldogs. He got fired just a day after Fisher did, and his buyout is slightly more than 5% of what Fisher will receive.

That's eight coaches in about 14 months who will be making millions of dollars not to coach for their schools. It's not bad work if you can get it.

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