Deion Sanders, underpaid: Football Bowl Subdivision teams can receive more than they bargained for.
Some institutions are seeing enormous returns on the salaries they gave to some of the best coaches in the nation. This is especially true for Colorado and Washington, two Pac-12 institutions who received big rewards for signing Deion Sanders and Kalen DeBoer, respectively.
But in terms of value for money, the Group of Five conferences offer the best results. Three of the greatest deals on USA TODAY Sports’ list of the underpaid college football coaches may be found there.
Deion Sanders, Colorado
Before even considering his performance on the field, Sanders has already proven himself to be well worth the $5.5 million he will make this season simply for the attention he has brought back to Colorado more than a generation after the program’s last run-in with national prominence. The Buffaloes’ undeniable improvement amid his historic offseason rebuild of one of the poorest squads in the Power Five is a bonus to that. Colorado, which has only made the playoffs twice since 2008, is on track for a bowl berth despite defeats to Oregon and Southern California.
Kalen DeBoer, Washington
DeBoer and Washington are flying comfortably under the radar in the Pac-12 thanks to Colorado and Sanders sucking up all the oxygen. But since the beginning of the previous campaign, the Huskies have done nothing but destroy opponents who boast one of the best offenses in the country, led by Michael Penix Jr., the most effective passer in the FBS. With a current record of 16-2 at Washington and a team that appears to be practically unstoppable, DeBoer is an absolute steal at a base salary of $4.2 million, ranking eighth among Pac-12 coaches employed by public universities.
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State
Tedford has had two separate tenures at Fresno State, winning at least 10 games in three of those four seasons. The Bulldogs are on track to accomplish the same in 2023 after going 4-0 in non-conference play (5-0 overall) with victories against Purdue and Arizona State on the road. Tedford is the most successful coach in the Mountain West, having amassed a record of 41-18 overall in the past four years after going 82-57 at California from 2002 to 2012. Tedford, though, earns $1.55 million in total compensation this season, which is less than five other league coaches.
Charles Huff, Marshall
Huff has led the Thundering Herd to a successful transition from Conference USA to the Sun Belt, going 20-10 in more than two seasons at Marshall. The squad this year was predicted to place fourth in the East division, but after beating East Carolina and Virginia Tech, Huff is now a more obvious candidate for the Power Five places that will become available this winter. Huff, one of the most well-known recruiters in the industry, is earning just $755,500 this season, ranking 10th out of 14 Sun Belt coaches.
Jerry Kill, New Mexico State
Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, Minnesota, and just now New Mexico State are just a few of the stops where Kill has triumphed. NMSU made a bowl game in Kill’s debut and has a chance to return there in 2023, despite a 20-17 loss to Hawaii on September 24 that put the Aggies to 2-3. This is one of the hardest locations to win in all of college football. As part of a contract that continues through 2027, Kill is getting $600,000 this season, which is tied for the least among Conference USA coaches at public universities.