UNIVERSITY PARK - New football coach Bill O'Brien has a five-year contract that will guarantee him $2.3 million per year, which search committee member Ira Lubert said is "a little less" than what former coach Joe Paterno was making at Penn State.
Many schools do not release contract information upon hiring a new coach, but Penn State made that information available Saturday. O'Brien's contract includes:
* $950,000 per year base salary from the university.
* $1 million per year from radio and TV deals.
* $350,000 per year from Nike.
On top of the guaranteed $2.3 million, O'Brien has additional incentives that could total as much as $200,000 per year. He also receives a built-in 5 percent annual increase.
Lubert, the financial whiz of the search committee, said, "It was not a hard negotiation at all" with O'Brien.
"I think he's paid well within the Big Ten," Lubert said, "and we have some incentives, a little bit more incentives above that - winning the Big Ten, winning a national championship, winning a bowl game. I think he's well-positioned."
Four Big Ten coaches made more money in 2011 than O'Brien's contract calls for (see chart), while New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer signed a six-year deal worth $24 million, plus additional incentives.
2011 Big Ten coaching salaries
Base pay, according to USA Today study:
1. Kirk Ferentz.....Iowa.....$3.79M
2. Brady Hoke.....Michigan.....$3.25M
3. Bo Pelini.....Nebraska.....$2.78M
4. Bret Bielema.....Wisconsin.....$2.6M
5. Mark Dantonio.....Michigan State.....$1.92M
6. Ron Zook.....Illinois.....$1.76M
7. Jerry Kill.....Minnesota.....$1.7M
8. Kevin Wilson.....Indiana.....$1.26M
9. Pat Fitzgerald.....Northwestern.....$1.19M
10. Luke Fickell.....Ohio State.....$1.17M
11. Joe Paterno.....Penn State.....$1.02M
12. Danny Hope.....Purdue.....$925,000
According to a USA Today study, college coaches who received the highest base pay in 2011 were Texas' Mack Brown at $5.19 million, Alabama's Nick Saban at $4.83 million and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops at $4.08 million. Some sources have reported Saban's overall salary at $6 million including all incentives.
Given his lengthy tenure and success, Paterno had long been considered one of the nation's most underpaid coaches when looking strictly at base pay. His total compensation in 2011 is not known, but his base salary from the university was $1.02 million.
"Joe had things on top of his base pay, too," Lubert said of the incentives, "so it's typical of contracts within college football."
O'Brien's salary as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator is not known. The average salary of NFL assistant coaches is $350,000 to $375,000, according to the NFL Coaches Association, and he likely made more than that as a coordinator.
"My conclusion after spending a lot of time with Bill is money is not the top motivator for him," Lubert said. "He wants to lead this program, he wants to develop a lot of young men to grow into great men and he wants to win football games. That's what he's all about."