SEC head coaches who worked under Saban all have salaries over the FBS average
Legendary University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is one of the greatest head coaches of all time in the college ranks, and could eventually go down as the greatest. Working alongside him is a top goal of any up and coming assistant coach.
The amount of knowledge that can be bestowed upon an assistant from Saban is unlike any other coach in the country. To learn how to game plan, recruit, conduct practices, etc. are all valuable traits to learn if an assistant wants to move on and become a great head coach one day.
However, there is another reason to work for Saban that is backed by statistics that were recently released from USA Today — money. To put it humbly, Saban’s coaching tree is very green.
It seems like the monetary influence that comes from working for the greatest coach reflects who that assistant learned from. Five former assistants that are current SEC college football head coaches all make more than the FBS head coach average annual salary of $2.67 million. Let’s look into a few of their careers with Saban and after.
Jimbo Fisher: Texas A&M, Salary – $7.5 million
Fisher was the offensive coordinator under Saban all four years at LSU. Fisher later went on to be the head coach at Florida State from 2010 to 2017. He led the Seminoles to an 82-23 record during his eight years in Tallahassee. The .783 winning percentage Fisher achieved is the highest of any head coach in Florida State history.
He also took the Noles to three ACC championships, four AP Poll top-10 finishes, and four bowl game wins. His greatest achievement while in Tallahassee was leading the Seminoles to winning the 2013 BCS National Championship.
Fisher now works in the SEC once again in his third year as the head coach at Texas A&M.
Kirby Smart: Georgia, Salary- 6.8 million
Smart was first an assistant to Saban at LSU in 2004 as a defensive backs coach. However, he is most well-known for working as Defensive Coordinator at Alabama under Saban from 2009 to 2015. He worked closely with Saban to build one of the most dominant defenses in the SEC and all of college football.
During his time at Bama he helped the Tide win multiple national championships as DC before becoming head coach at Georgia, his Alma Mater, in 2016. Smart is in his fifth season as Georgia’s head coach. In those five years he has led the Bulldogs to two SEC championship appearances, and a victory in the 2017 SEC championship. After the 2017 SEC championship victory, he would go on to lose in the national championship to Saban and Alabama.
Will Muschamp: South Carolina, Salary – $4.6 million
Muschamp coached under Saban at LSU for five years, four of those as defensive coordinator. Like any defensive coordinator working under Saban, he learned a lot and began to perfect his craft. He later became the defensive coordinator at Auburn for two years, before holding the same position at Texas from 2008 to 2010.
After a stop in Texas, Muschamp became head coach for the Florida Gators from 2011 to 2014 going a lackluster 28-21 in his four seasons in Gainesville. He went back to Auburn as defensive coordinator for the 2015 season before landing a new head coaching job at South Carolina. He is now in his fifth season as the head coach of the Gamecocks.
Jeremy Pruitt: Tennessee, Salary – $3.8 million
Pruitt is one of the more recent Saban assistants, serving as defensive coordinator at Alabama from 2016 to 2017. He worked with Saban to help Bama win the 2017 national championship game. After two years as defensive coordinator at Alabama, Pruitt was thought ready to be an SEC head coach.
Pruitt then got hired as head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2018 and is now in his third year as head coach. In his time at Tennessee, the Vols have a 15-13 record, with signs of improvement on the horizons.
Lane Kiffin: Ole Miss, Salary – $3.9 million
Kiffin is another recent Saban assistant, and one of the more interesting coaches in the league. Kiffin was brought on as offensive coordinator for the Tide in 2014 and stayed until 2016. He brought a new offensive philosophy to Tuscaloosa and helped Saban win a national championship in 2015.
Later, Kiffin landed a head coaching job at Florida Atlantic for three years where his Owls won two Conference USA championships. After FAU, he became a head coach in the SEC again at Ole Miss. This is his first year in Oxford, and he is currently 1-2 on the season.
All of these coaches have gone on to achieve great things and great pay after working for Saban, thus proving how coveted a position under Saban can be for any assistant wanting to climb the ranks of college coaching. However, none have been able to defeat their former boss. Saban is currently 21-0 against his former assistants.
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.