New Contract Makes Alabama’s Nick Saban One of the Top-Paid Public Employees In U. S.

(Photo: Spruce Derden, USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo: Spruce Derden, USA TODAY Sports)

Already the highest-paid football coach at a public university, Alabama’s Nick Saban will make $6.9 million a year for the next eight seasons under a pay package unanimously approved Tuesday by the compensation committee of the University of Alabama System board of trustees.

Saban’s base salary and personal-services fee will total $6.5 million each year, and he is scheduled to receive annual contract-year completion bonuses of $400,000. He will be able to add as much as $700,000 a year in performance bonuses.

In addition, the sides agreed that in each year in which Saban earns the contract-completion bonus, Alabama will put an extra $100,000 toward a $1 million scholarship pledge that Saban has made to the school.

Saban, 62, had been scheduled to make about $5.5 million for the upcoming season under a deal that had been set to run through Jan. 31, 2020. Saban is now under contract through Jan. 31, 2022.

If Saban completes the re-structured deal, he will make a total at least $55.2 million. If Alabama terminates without cause prior to the end of the contract, it would owe him no more than about $23.3 million.

Based on recurring annual compensation, the new deal likely makes Saban one of the nation’s most highly paid public employees as well as one of the most highly paid people in American higher education.

Alabama announced in December that it had agreed with Saban on a contract extension, but the details had not been made public, pending action by the board. At that time, Saban was being mentioned as a possible target for Texas, which eventually parted ways with longtime coach Mack Brown.

On Tuesday, the board also approved contracts and adjustments for Alabama’s assistant coaches. The nine full-time, on-field assistants will earn just under $5.2 million, combined. That means Alabama will join LSU in becoming the first public schools with football assistant coaching payrolls in excess of $5 million, not including bonuses. LSU’s assistants are scheduled to make a little more than $5.3 million.

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Steve Berkowitz

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