The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
Is he really worth it? That question has been coming at me from all angles ever since we heard that Alabama football coach Nick Saban has agreed to a contract extension thru 2022 that will pay him about $7 million a year. On the surface, that annual salary is mind-boggling. I mean, with $7 million dollars, UA officials could purchase the Six Million Dollar Man and have an extra million bucks for spare parts. With $7 million, Joan Rivers could get 350 facelifts at $20,000 a shot. Heck, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7 million back in 1867. Yes, on the surface, paying a football coach $7 million a year is a crime. From a business standpoint? The folks at the University Of Alabama are getting a bargain.
Crunch the numbers and you will see what kind of financial jackpot Nick Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa. Per "USA Today's" annual survey, the University of Athletic department made a revenue of over $143 million in 2013. With those kind of dollars being generated (most of them via the sport of football), UA stands third in the nation behind Texas and Wisconsin in total annual revenue raised. Still, $7 million a year to coach a football team?
Nick Saban's annual salary is more than what is spent in coaches salaries for the entire Sunbelt Conference. One of Bama's football opponents (Western Carolina) generated $4 million over the last year, and over seventy D-1 programs have an annual budget of less than $7 million. But when you win three national titles at UA, help your conference dole out over $20 million dollars per institution (as was announced last week in Destin), and through hard work become the SEC's torch bearer for revenue earned, I don't think fans can complain about that annual salary.
But $7 million a year? Bryant-Denny Stadium was built in 1929 for $196,000. The original Yankee Stadium was built for $2.4 million in 1923, and yes, it cost $7 million dollars to build the Titanic! The Titanic for crying out loud!
Still, the one thing I always tell people when they question the kind of money Nick Saban makes: The guy earned it. He grew up in rural West Virginia working at his Dad's gas station. He was not a bonus baby, no trusts were sent his way. The man was all but broke when he started to coach. So I say more power to him, as he's living proof that Americans who work hard can prosper. And man, is Nick Saban prospering! Now he needs to keep on winning, for if not, he may have more in common with the Titanic than $7 million.