clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ryan Day is the No. 22 highest paid coach in college football

The first-year headman at Ohio State is not quite making Dabo Swinney money just yet

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

“Ryan Day has now taken up the mantle of the head man in Columbus, and you would expect his salary to also be up there among the best, but that’s not the case when you start comparing things in the college football arms race.”

- Phil Harrison, USA Today

When Urban Meyer handed over the reins at the conclusion of last season, he was one of the highest paid coaches in the sport. Generally, a handful of Big Ten titles, an 83-9 record and a National Championship will lend itself to that. In stepped Ryan Day, who before his brief three-game stint as the interim coach at the start of 2018, had no prior experience as a head coach at any level.

Day has done a tremendous job in Columbus, as his 7-0 start will attest, but where does he rank among the highest paid leaders in college football? One may believe the head coach of the Buckeyes would be toward the top of the list, as the responsibilities of being the front man at one of the premier programs in the nation come with lofty expectations, but that is not the case for the first-year man. Day actually comes in a No. 22, with a salary of $4.5 million for the 2019 season.

There are a few reasons for Day’s somewhat surprisingly low ranking. The main one is obviously experience, as previously mentioned. He certainly does not have the proven track record of the guys at the top of the list — Dabo Swinney at No. 1 ($9.3M) and Nick Saban ($8.8M) — as it is his very first head coaching gig. It is, however, worth noting that Day’s salary is still $1.4 million more than Lincoln Riley’s first payout after taking over the Oklahoma job.

Ohio State is definitely getting some bang for its buck, as you could argue that at his current price Day is an absolute steal. On the flip side, some coaches may be the ones doing the stealing (*cough cough* Jim Harbaugh at $7.5 million *cough*). Other notable Big Ten coaches at the top of the list include Purdue’s Jeff Brohm at $6.6 million, Penn State’s James Franklin at $5.65 million and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald at $5.14 million.


College basketball season is just around the corner, and while the preseason projections and rankings aren't nearly as frenzied and oversaturated as the college football preseason, there are still a good few models worthy of your time. One of which is the Ken Pom rankings, which is more often than not a good measure of each team in the college basketball landscape.

The preseason AP Poll has Ohio State ranked at No. 18 — a bit lower than most had expected. Ken Pomeroy however, in his infinite wisdom and computer algorithms, has the Buckeyes much higher, coming in at No. 11 in the country. OSU is the third-highest team in the Big Ten, behind only Michigan State (No. 1) and Purdue (No. 7). Behind the Spartans, the top-five is rounded out by Kentucky, Louisville, Duke and Virginia.

The grading system takes into account a team’s offense, defense and tempo, and uses them to create an adjusted efficiency margin. Ohio State does incredibly well on the defensive end, with the No. 8 adjusted defensive efficiency, but a bit poorer on the offensive end at No. 30. As the season progresses, the model also begins to factor in luck and strength of schedule in determining the rankings each week.

The Buckeyes have a lot to look forward to in 2019. OSU has a ton of returning talent, including its leading scorer Kaleb Wesson. In addition last year’s promising freshmen Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr., the team will be adding the services of graduate transfer guard C.J. Walker, as well as three top-50 recruits. It all adds up for what should be a really exciting year in Columbus.


“With the loss of quarterback Dwayne Haskins and three excellent wide receivers, there was reason to wonder if Ohio State might be looking at another slight decline this season. Instead, the Buckeyes have become college football’s most well-rounded team.”

- Bill Connelly, ESPN

It is a bit tough to ever call a program with as much history of success as Ohio State a surprise, but that is exactly what the Buckeyes have been this season. Last year’s team was not exactly the crown jewel of the last decade, with a defense that was downright awful at times. The only bright spot was the offense — one which lost Dwayne Haskins as well as it’s top three wide receivers and one of it’s two starting running backs at season’s end.

As a result, the expectations for this season were not sky high. Some projections even had Ohio State finishing as low as fourth in the Big Ten. Well, fast forward to today, and the Buckeyes are looking like one of the top teams in the nation, and one that could easily compete for a national title in Ryan Day’s first season at the helm.

The offense is clicking on all cylinders to this point in the year. A huge reason for their success has been the two-headed monster of Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. Fields’ mobility is an aspect of the game that Haskins just lacked, and it has opened up so much more in terms of play calling. They have also reinstalled a commitment to the run game, with great success. OSU ranked No. 54 in rushing SP+ a year ago — they currently sit at No. 1.

The defense has seen a complete overhaul with the injection of Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley, as the personnel on the field remain almost identical to last season. The defensive line led by Chase Young has been a nightmare for opposing offenses, and the improved pass rush has aided the secondary as there is less time for a blown coverage to develop. After ranking No. 62 in pass defense SP+ last season, the Bucks are currently No. 2.

There is still a lot of football to be played, and Ohio State will face its toughest test this weekend with Wisconsin coming into town. It will be the first time this new and improved defense will matchup against a top 25 offense, with the Badgers coming in at No. 22 in offensive SP+. The sky is the limit for Day’s talented roster this season, but they will have to continue this high level of play until the very end.


Aaron Craft’s basketball career is coming to an end, the guard announced on Wednesday. The 28-year-old has spent the last five years overseas, but is calling it quits at the end of this season to pursue a medical degree at Ohio State.

Craft played for the Buckeyes from 2010 to 2014, averaging about nine points, five assists and two steals per game. He was a four-time Big Ten All-Defense, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice and was the Big Ten Tournament MVP in 2013. After going undrafted in 2014, Craft spent some time in the D-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors before taking his game across the pond.


Stick to Sports

  • Outbreak of vaping illnesses strengthens the case for legalization of marijuana.
  • Have American cities reached a tipping point of growth?
  • Trump’s love of Twitter is not reciprocated by its users.
  • Are you addicted to your phone? Here are some tips to break the habit.