Alabama’s Nick Saban Leapfrogs Georgia’s Kirby Smart To Be Highest Paid College Football Coach In 2022 – ‘Our Family Is Very Happy,’ He Says

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban is again the highest paid college football coach in the country, as we know it, after spending about a month in second place behind Georgia coach Kirby Smart.

Alabama coach Nick Saban. (Getty Images)

A new contract extension moves Saban, 70, up to $10.695 million for the 2022 season. Saban was paid $9.9 million last season when his team lost the national championship game to Georgia.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart. (Getty Images)

Smart, who was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008-15 and took Georgia to its first national title since 1980 last season, is now second at $10.25 million for the 2022 season.


LSU first-year coach Brian Kelly is tied for No. 3 at $9.5 million in 2022 with Michigan State’s Mel Tucker and Ohio State’s Ryan Day. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is No. 6 at $9 million in 2022. Smart, Tucker and Fisher were all previously assistants under Nick Saban.

Those salaries are at public universities, which must release salary figures. Private schools, like Notre Dame or USC, do not need to disclose that information.

Alabama Makes Nick Saban, Terry Saban Very Happy

“Our family is very happy to agree to a contract extension with the University of Alabama,” Saban said in an Alabama release on Tuesday.

“Terry (Saban, his wife) and I are very appreciative of the unmatched commitment the university has shown to this football program and our family over the last 15-plus years. This is our home, and we look forward to finishing our career at Alabama.”

Saban’s new contract also has been extended one year through the 2029 season and ending on Feb. 28, 2030 when he will be 78.


“I’ve said this before, but the most fulfilling part of our job is seeing the players that represent our program grow and develop, not only in football, but more importantly in what they have been able to accomplish in their lives because of their involvement in our program,” Saban said. “We want to thank the Board of Trustees, Chancellor St. John, President Bell, Director of Athletics Greg Byrne, our athletics administration, the football staff and the whole University community for their support.”

Saban has been the highest paid college coach in virtually every season he has been in the college ranks since 2000 when his salary was $1.2 million a year.

He was at LSU from 2000-04 and won the 2003 national title before coaching the Miami Dolphins in the NFL in 2005 and ’06. He returned to college football in 2007 at Alabama and has won six national championships with the Crimson Tide, beginning in the 2009 season.

Since 2009, Saban has been paid more than $101 million by Alabama.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have the best football coach in the nation and one of the greatest coaches of all time, regardless of sport, here at Alabama in Coach Saban,” Byrne said.

“Not only have his teams been successful on the field, but they have also achieved greatly in the classroom and community. Beyond that, the impact he and Miss Terry have had on The University, Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama cannot be overlooked. They are special people, and we are very thankful to have them around for many years to come. We are so proud of this program and the championship culture Coach Saban has instilled throughout.”

In 2029, Saban is scheduled to make $12.7 million in the last year of his contract as of now. Smart is scheduled to make $11.75 million in 2029.


Byrne also received a raise from Alabama – from $1.70 million a year to $1.79 million a year.

(Trey Wallace contributed to this report)

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Clay Travis reacted to Nick Saban being the highest-paid coach in college football, earning $11.7 million a year with a coaching deal that extends until 2030 on OutKick The Show:

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Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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