Value in coaching? Evaluating college football coaches according to dollars per win is fun. Dennis Erickson (left) cost Arizona State $50,000 per win in 2007. Tim Brewster (right) cost Minnesota $1,000,000 per win. Yes, one million, as in 1 x 106.
In response to a recent discussion of the relationship between big-time college football and law school administration, MoneyLaw correspondent and commentator Mr. Bonzo has supplied a fun suggestion:
The clever folks at USA Today have figured out the cost per football win for the last season &mdash in terms of coaches' salaries.Mr. Bonzo is right. In this contest, if no other, the Golden Gophers have finished first. Indeed, if the Gophers hadn't defeated Miami of Ohio, 41-35 in triple overtime on September 8, Coach Tim Brewster's performance for the 2007 season, expressed mathematically as salary dollars per win, would have been priceless.
My beloved Gophers are at least number one in that aspect of football. Minnesota cost/win = $1,000,000
Here are the five most expensive coaches in Division I-A college football, as measured by dollars in salary per win:
|School||Coach||Salary||Wins||Salary per win|
|Southern Methodist||Phil Bennett||$517,857||1||$517,857|
At the other end of the spectrum, which coaches provided the best value for their teams? The mirror image of Alabama's multimillionaire is Louisiana-Monroe's Charlie Weatherbie, who delivered 6 wins — exactly as many as Alabama — for the bargain-basement salary of $205,000. That salary is less than certain law school professors make (names withheld to protect the guilty, the shameless, and the overpaid), and Weatherbie's rate of $34,167 per win makes him the sixth most efficient college football coach in Division I-A. Oh, in case you were wondering, Weatherbie beat Saban head-to-head, in a shocking 21-14 win for Louisiana-Monroe over Alabama.
Another mid-major notable: Miami of Ohio's Shane Montgomery may have lost to Minnesota, but he got the RedHawks six wins for merely $144,225 ($24,038 per win). That's six times the victories for one-seventh the salary paid by Minnesota to Tim Brewster.
My pick for the coach of the year? Sentiment favors Bill Lynch of Indiana, who delivered 7 wins, a bowl game, and a 13-game season to the Hoosiers for $293,297 ($41,900/win). Indiana football, I am sure, is happy to pass the dreaded title of "Eleventh in the Big Ten" to Minnesota's Golden Gophers.
But for efficiency and performance, no one outclassed Dennis Erickson. Sure, Arizona State paid him $500,000 this year. Though substantial, that half-million-dollar salary was half of Tim Brewster's pay and a seventh of Nick Saban's. The Sun Devils got a whopping 10 wins, and the short end of a tie for the Pac-10 title, for a cool $50,000 per win. Arizona State is going to the Holiday Bowl, which is as satisfying for the Sun Devil Nation as the Cotton Bowl is for Missouri, but that outcome must be laid at the feet of the craven and corrupt masters of the Bowl Championship Series.