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Texas A&M head coach receives $76 million buyout in firing
Eakin Howard – Getty

College football coaches: they are the driving force behind a team, and they make all kinds of difficult decisions. It is a very stressful job and only a few find success as a coach. However, they make a ton of money, and many people say that they make too much money. Coaches have contracts, and they are usually set up so they earn increasing amounts of money annually until their contract ends or they are prematurely terminated.

If they are fired, they can receive a buyout, which is similar to a severance package, and it basically gives them the money that they would have made through their contract. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M football coach, who was originally signed in 2017, and it was extended in 2021. His 2021 contract extension was supposed to last through 2031, and the whole contract would have earned him $94.95 million. That translated to roughly 9.5 million dollars a year, for 9 years. The terms of his buyout include a lump sum of 25% due within 60 days of his termination, which started on Nov. 12, and will grant him a $19.25 million and totals $76 million when all is said and done.

To put that in perspective, the average salary of a lawyer was $127K in 2021. Doctors, another so-called “high paying” job, make anywhere from $165K to $210K.

The Texas A&M Football coach, who didn’t even take his team to the playoffs, was making 45 times the average doctor, and he didn’t have to go to college for years to get a degree to get his job.

Another crazy statistic is that he was, and still is, making more than some NFL players, which is mind-blowing because, for one, he is not coaching a professional football team, and he is not taking nearly the physical and mental toll of the players.

For reference, the average running back salary is $1.8 million as of 2023; which Fisher was making 4.5 times the amount. The only position that gets paid somewhat close to $9.5 million is the left tackle, and they make 8.9 million dollars a year on average.

Another side to this is that the average NFL player’s career only lasts 3.3 years, and Fisher’s contract was originally for 9 years.

These huge numbers are all what he is currently getting paid, without working. He could, on top of all of this, get a coaching job somewhere else, and make even more. But why should he? If he knows that he just has to get a contract and then get paid, why should he want to succeed as a coach, if he gets paid anyway? Well, there are many reasons that a coach would want to win, and for one, you would have to win and have succeeded to get a huge contract, and once you have one, coaches who win keep their big contract for longer. It seems slightly counter-intuitive, as you will get paid more if you have a buyout and a coaching job, but the truth is that once a coach is fired for poor performance, like Jimbo Fisher was, no high ranking teams want him.

On top of all of that, inflation is an inevitable force in determining how much people really get paid, and it is pretty much unpredictable. As inflation constantly rises, so do football players paychecks. In the past year alone, the record for the overall highest contract has been broken twice.

And in the sports world, when records are set, so are standards. In other words, coaches will now be expected to be paid huge totals like how Coach Fisher was, as that is simply the nature of a competitive field such as being a football coach.

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