New Mississippi State football head coach Zach Arnett is at the bottom of the SEC coaching salaries in his first year in Starkville.
In his first year as the head coach of the Mississippi State football team, Zach Arnett is sitting at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference when it comes to coaching salaries. That’s not a huge shocker when you consider how much good head football coaches make these days.
Arnett has pretty big shoes to fill after stepping in and being promoted after Mike Leach tragically passed away back in December 2022.
Mississippi State turned to Arnett in hopes that his presence and the continuity he could theoretically provide to the program would help stabilize it following Leach’s death. That said, the Bulldogs didn’t exactly break the bank to hire a first time head coach.
And while Mississippi State is hoping that Arnett can lead the Miss. State football program, the Bulldogs weren’t going to go broke and invest as much as what some other schools in the SEC are paying for established and proven coaches.
2023 SEC football coaching salaries: Zach Arnett is lowest paid head coach in the SEC
Here’s what the SEC coaching salaries look like in 2023, according to a report by USA Today:
- Nick Saban, Alabama – $11.4 million
- Kirby Smart, Georgia – $10.7 million
- Brian Kelly, LSU – $9.98 million
- Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M – $9.15 million
- Mark Stoops, Kentucky – $9.01 million
- Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss – $9 million
- Josh Heupel, Tennessee – $9 million
- Billy Napier, Florida – $7.27 million
- Hugh Freeze, Auburn – $6.5 million
- Sam Pittman, Arkansas – $6.36 million
- Shane Beamer, South Carolina – $6.13 million
- Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri – $6 million
- Clark Lea, Vanderbilt – $3.05 million
- Zach Arnett, Mississippi State – $3 million
As you can see, Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and guy who has seven national titles to his name, is the highest paid coach on the list. As he should be. He wins the most. He should be paid the most.
Over in Athens, Georgia, the Georgia Bulldogs are paying Kirby Smart quite a bit of money. He’s number two on the list. And that makes sense. He’s won a couple national titles. Pay him a ton of money.
There are various other things to be said about that list, such as Lane Kiffin making nine million a year, but he just pulled off an upset of the LSU Tigers and has Ole Miss consistently looking really impressive.
Meanwhile, Jimbo Fisher is making over nine million a year and has been up and down in College Station and needs a strong performance this season to cool his seat down considerably.
But one thing is clear…
Zach Arnett’s Mississippi State football salary is SEC’s lowest
Arnett is sitting at the very bottom of the list, according to USA Today. Which, makes sense, he’s a brand new head coach. He hasn’t proven himself with a ton of wins and didn’t really have a ton of experience coaching at the power five level as a coordinator before he was elevated to being the head coach in Starkville.
But, one thing working in Arnett’s favor is his bonus structure. Theoretically, if he wins a lot, he gets paid a lot. His maximum bonus is sitting at $2.2 million this season.
So, win and get paid. That’s how that works.
Unfortunately for Arnett and Mississippi State football fans alike, the Bulldogs are on a three-game losing streak and have looked abysmal to start the 2023 Mississippi State football season.
But, interestingly enough, the Bulldogs’ head coach is making the same as former MSU head coach Dan Mullen made in 2014. I know, inflation and all that jazz, but about a decade after MSU won 10 games and Mullen was paid $3 million, the Bulldogs are off to a 2-3 start and may not make it to a bowl.
There’s something to be said about how expensive it is to get a coach these days.