Razorback Coach Bret Bielema's Salary Puts Him at No. 4 in SEC

Bret Bielema has yet to coach a game at Arkansas. He hasn’t even put together a full coaching staff.

It will be months before he makes his debut for the Razorbacks. Still, Bielema is already winning in the Southeastern Conference.

Bielema’s $3.2 million annual salary places him in rare company among the league’s football minds (not to mention No. 1 among the state of Arkansas’ highest-paid employees). Bielema is one of only four coaches at the SEC’s 13 public institutions making at least $3 million annually. Vanderbilt Commodores coach James Franklin is reportedly making more than $3 million annually, but, as a private school, Vandy is not required to release salary information and details are limited on his contract.

Arkansas is paying Bielema enough that he enters the big-spending league ranked fourth in salary. Only coaches with national titles on their resume — Nick Saban (three), Les Miles (one) and Steve Spurrier (one) — are making more than Bielema, who enters the SEC with three consecutive Rose Bowl berths but no national title game appearances or wins.

Bielema, who was 68-24 at Wisconsin, received a pay raise of about $400,000 for making the move to Arkansas. It’s a nice bump, but nothing compared to the raise that Gus Malzahn earned by leaving Arkansas State University for Auburn, also in the Southeastern Conference.

Malzahn, who spent three years as offensive coordinator at Auburn before he served one year as a head coach at ASU, will earn $2.3 million. He was making $850,774 at Arkansas State, and the move netted him an additional $1.4 million per year.

That salary ranks Malzahn 11th among the 13 public university coaches in the Southeastern Conference. A mix of public funds and private donations traditionally pays coaches’ salaries.

Here’s a look at salaries among Southeastern Conference coaches. Numbers were compiled from multiple reports.

  1. Nick Saban, Alabama $5.3 million
  2. Les Miles, LSU $3.7 million
  3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina $3.5 million
  4. Bret Bielema, Arkansas $3.2 million
  5. James Franklin, Vanderbilt $3.0 million*
  6. Butch Jones, Tennessee $2.9 million
  7. Mark Richt, Georgia $2.8 million
  8. Gary Pinkel, Missouri $2.7 million
  9. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State $2.6 million
  10. Will Muschamp, Florida $2.4 million
  11. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M $2.4 million
  12. Gus Malzahn, Auburn $2.3 million
  13. Mark Stoops, Kentucky $2.2 million
  14. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss $2.0 million

*Based on press reports. Vanderbilt is a private school and does not release salary figures.