Florida St. Seminoles football coach Jimbo Fisher earns the highest salary of any coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to a study by USA Today; the data are available here. Fisher will earn $2.75 million in 2011, with a maximum bonus of $725,000. That salary ranks No. 15 among FBS coaches, notes Coley Harvey of the Orlando Sentinel, but would also rank just No. 8 in the Southeastern Conference, illustrating the primacy of football in the SEC.
Fisher's salary already exceeds that of his predecessor, the legendary Bobby Bowden, who earned a $2.32 million salary with a potential bonus of $727,000 in his final year helming Florida State.
Despite schools slashing budgets across the country, Fisher earned a raise over last season, prompting USA Today to ask, "how does a public employee get a 50% raise of nearly $1 million after one year on the job?" Erik Barron, FSU's president, explained it in this way: "You're always looking at whether or not you have the potential to lose a good coach and end up having to pay more in order to get the next one."
The lavish raises throughout college football--on average, FBS coaches received raises of 7.3 percent this year--have upset some professors and students, including Julian Spallholz, a professor at Texas Tech. "This kind of disproportion in the country is why people are occupying Wall Street," he said. However, there doesn't appear to be much opposition to Fisher's raise in Tallahassee. "I have not heard any talk about the football coach's contract," Sandra Lewis, the president of FSU's faculty senate, told the newspaper.
Fisher went 10-4 in his first season coaching the Seminoles, finishing No. 17 in the Associated Press postseason Top 25 poll and beating the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Fisher's Seminoles now stand at 7-3 following their coach's raise, and rank No. 23 in the nation. They opened the season at No. 6.