A New York Times article published today revealed that USC head coach Pete Carroll raked in a whopping $4.4 million in 2007.
A study conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education found Carroll to be the highest paid private university employee in the country in the 2007 fiscal year, one of 88 seven-figure earners.
This isn't going to be some rant about the outlandish compensation of college coaches, a la the spectacle that occurred at UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun's postgame press conference last weekend. Coaches such as Calhoun and Carroll and Urban Meyer and Rick Pitino are worth every penny. (Charlie Weis may be a different story.)
Sure, we may be stumbling through the most significant financial downturn since the Great Depression. But ultra-successful college sports teams--particularly in football--tend to be profit centers for universities, generating substantial returns on the investments athletic departments make in them. Also, if wasn't USC shelling out that kind of dough for Carroll, it would be Tennessee or Daniel Snyder. It's the way the labor market works. If top professors want to complain about excessive coaching salaries, they should consider how they'd feel if their salaries were depressed artificially on the open market.
However, news like this drives home that at the end of the day, this is an obscenely lucrative business for college coaches. Believe what you want about their care for their players--or their schools. Taking care of your players' best interests before your own isn't going to get you to the point where you're being paid $4 million per year to coach football, though. It's not going to help you stay there, either.