07/25/2012 09:26 am ET | Updated Jul 25, 2012

The Highest Paid College Football Coaches In 2011 (SLIDESHOW)


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:

Highest Paid College Coaches

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.