Before Penn State University fired Joe Paterno as head coach of the football team, he was widely regarded as wielding heavy influence in the Penn State community, where football was king. Until this week, he was the winningest coach in NCAA history. For this, he was making $1,022,794 in his role as coach.
He wasn't, however, close to being the highest paid college football coach in the country -- not by a long shot.
Paterno ranked near the middle, compared to coaches around the country at colleges with major football programs. Among the Big Ten, Penn State's conference, he was second to last.
USA Today found college football coaches were compensated $1.47 million on average in 2011. Even as public universities have taken major hits in state funding, the average pay grew 55 percent in six seasons, from $950,000 in 2006.
About one-quarter of the 82 public schools that retained their coaches after last season gave raises of $200,000 or more; some of those raises were built into contracts that remained unchanged. However, nine schools provided boosts of $500,000 or more to incumbent coaches via new, or amended, contracts.
Very few of FBS athletics departments were able to pay all their bills without help from university or state funds or student fees, in 2010, according to USA Today.
Check out the 17 highest paid college football coaches in 2011:
Mack Brown, University of Texas at Austin
Total Pay: $5,193,500 Photo Credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mack_Brown_Texas_Horns_up2.jpg" target="_hplink">Andreanna</a>
Nick Saban, University of Alabama
Total Pay: $4,833,333 Photo Credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NickSaban_LSU-AL-07t.jpg" target="_hplink">Atliad </a>
Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma
Total Pay: $4,075,000 Photo Credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bob_Stoops_Oklahoma_Coach.jpg" target="_hplink">Flickr user Billy A</a>
Les Miles, Louisiana State University
Total Pay: $3,856,417 Photo Credit:<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LSU_AUBURN_2.JPG" target="_hplink"> JustDog</a>
Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa
Total Pay: $3,785,000
Bobby Petrino, University of Arkansas
Total Pay: $3,638,000
Gene Chizik, Auburn University
Total Pay: $3,500,000
Brady Hoke, University of Michigan
Total Pay: $3,254,000 Photo Credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brady_Hoke_June_2011.jpg" target="_hplink">Missy Caulk</a>
Will Muschamp, University of Florida
Total Pay: $3,221,000 Photo Credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Will_Muschamp,_UF_Spring_Game,_2011.jpg" target="_hplink">Benjamin Blue</a>
Mark Richt, University of Georgia
Total Pay: $2,939,800
Steve Spurrier, University of South Carolina
Total Pay: $2,828,000
Chip Kelly, University of Oregon
Total Pay: $2,800,000
Bo Pelini, University of Nebraska
Total Pay: $2,775,000
Houston Nutt, University of Mississippi
Total Pay: $2,771,750
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University
Total Pay: $2,750,000
Gary Pinkel, University of Missouri
Total Pay: $2,700,000
Bret Bielema, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Total Pay: $2,598,186
This slideshow is based on USA Today's "Total Pay" tab. According to the USA Today, the total pay includes "base salary; income from contract provisions other than base salary that are paid, or guaranteed, by the university or affiliated organizations, such as a foundation," and "income from sources listed on the coach's most recently available, self-reported athletically related outside income report." Some schools require this to be disclosed, others do not.