How the Salary of Ohio State's Ryan Day Compares to Other NCAA Coaches

Tyler Stephen

Based on remarkable first-year results both on the field and in the living rooms, it’s a popular opinion in Central Ohio circles that Buckeye head coach Ryan Day has lived up to, and perhaps even exceeded his coaching expectations.

The 41-year old former assistant went 13-1 in his inaugural campaign which included a Big Ten title, convincing win over his rival, and a singular loss marred with controversy in the College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Clemson.

Not only did the Buckeyes produce convincing results all season, Day is also making history with the Ohio State recruiting classes. Currently No. 1 in the 2021 recruiting class rankings over perennial powers Alabama and Clemson, the New Hampshire native is erasing any doubts about living up to former coach Urban Meyer’s most noteworthy asset.

So it was certainly warranted when Day received a massive contract extension in February that will keep him in Columbus through at least 2026. He still had four years remaining on his original deal, which was signed back in December 2018. 


But how did Day's compensation compare in 2019 to the counterparts he is outperforming in an emphatic way? Not as well as most would think - which is probably why he was given such a hefty raise.

In a 2019 list compiled by Sporting News, Day ranked 22nd nationally in annual salary ($4.5 million), which was seventh in the Big Ten last year. Out of these six conference coaches that earned more than Day, the Buckeyes outscored four of these teams by a combined margin of 184-54 in 2019. Ohio State did not play the two other Big Ten coaches making a higher yearly stipend than Day (Kirk Ferentz at Iowa and Jeff Brohm at Purdue) last season.

Day’s $4.5 million salary was less than half of the highest-paid coach in college football, Dabo Swinney at $9.3 million. In addition, Jim Harbaugh is making $3 million more per year to go 0-5 against Ohio State. Former Buckeye offensive coordinator Tom Herman also ranks top-10 nationally in compensation.

Day's original contract paid him $4.5 million per season, which he earned until this past June 30. Now under his new deal, Day is earning $6 million per year and he will receive a $1 million contribution to his retirement plan on December 31, 2020. On February 1, 2021, Day's salary will jump to $6.5 million. In 2022, it will increase to $7.6 million. Any salary increases after that must be approved by the athletic director and the Board of Trustees.

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Since when did Day get a new contract?