Fired College Football Coaches Are Having a Very Lucrative Year

Texas A&M is on the hook to pay Jimbo Fisher $76 million

Jimbo Fisher is being paid handsomely to not coach Texas A&M.
Jimbo Fisher is being paid handsomely to not coach Texas A&M.
Tim Warner/Getty

Fired nine games into last season by the Colts, former Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said he wasn’t “even close to bitter” about losing his job, probably at least partially because he’s in line to receive as much as $36 million from the organization through 2026, according to ESPN. After leading the Panthers to an NFL-worst 1-10 start in his first year at the helm in Carolina, Reich was fired on Monday and is now due to collect a second check not to coach football games that will pay out an undisclosed amount of cash through 2027. To paraphrase a popular saying, it’s nice work if you can not get it.

There’s something similar going on in college football this season as a number of firings of big-time coaches have led to some massive buyouts that are collectively already costing schools more than $118 million — a figure that is much greater than what is believed to be the single-season record of $94 million that was set in 2021, according to Yahoo Sports.

With the college football season coming to a close and bowl games set to begin in the coming weeks before the final edition of the four-team playoff format kicks off, there will certainly be more coaches on the chopping block and more buyouts on the way. You never know exactly what will happen, but it’s likely none will surpass the $76 million Jimbo Fisher will receive from Texas A&M after being fired two years after signing a 10-year, $95 million contract extension. 

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Per Front Office Sports, here are the college football coaches who’ve been fired and the buyouts that they’ve received to date:

  • Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher: $76 million
  • Indiana’s Tom Allen: $15.5 million
  • Houston’s Dana Holgorsen: $14.8 million
  • Mississippi State’s Zach Arnett: $4.5 million
  • Syracuse’s Dino Babers: $4 million (estimate; private school)
  • Boise State’s Andy Avalos: $3 million
  • New Mexico’s Danny Gonzales: $400,000

Reich is the second head coach in the pros to lose his job this season after former Raiders on-field boss Josh McDaniels and he certainly won’t be the last to do so as the seats of coaches across the NFL are starting to heat up with the playoffs approaching. Ron Rivera will almost certainly be let go by the Commanders and it’s possible that the Titans will on from Mike Vrabel. If the Chargers don’t make the playoffs, Brandon Staley will be finished in Los Angeles and the Jets may also decide to get rid of Robert Saleh unless the Jets make a late-season playoff push. They’ll all be paid handsomely if fired, but the biggest buyout of all will go to Bill Belichick if New England owner Robert Kraft decides he’s had enough with the Patriots sitting at 2-9 in last place in the AFC East.

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