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Getting Fired Pays Well in SEC

Nov 28, 2012 -- 1:13pm

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It may not be as big a deal as hitting the Power Ball lottery, but getting a big-time college football coaching job is one way to get rich. And it doesn’t matter whether you succeed or fail once you sign the dotted line.

Consider Gene Chizik, formerly of Auburn. He received a pink slip with one hand and a $7.55 million buyout with the other.

Consider Derek Dooley, formerly of Tennessee. He didn’t even have to finish out the season. Instead he spent the Thanksgiving holiday with the family while wondering how to spend the $5 million buyout he was given not to coach the Volunteers.

Why would any up-and-coming assistant coach want the Kentucky job, a place where coaches have gone to bury their careers since Bear Bryant bolted for Texas A&M? Consider Joker Phillips, formerly of Kentucky. He was paid $2.5 million to go on vacation.

This isn’t new. Houston Nutt is busying spending the $6 million he was given last year to stop coaching at Ole Miss. There are many other examples.

The incredible aspect of this story is how universities repeatedly agree to these expensive and stupid contracts. It certainly isn’t a matter of supply and demand forcing the hands of the schools. There are plenty of skilled football coaches seeking a relatively small number of jobs. Aren’t decision-makers at our universities supposed to be smart people?

No school can match Auburn when it comes giving out ridiculous contracts and then having a lack of patience with its coaches. Consider that Auburn has fired its last three coaches even though each had an unbeaten season at the school. Their names are Terry Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Chizik. (Few schools have had three unbeaten seasons in their history.)

The colleges obviously learned from the pros. NFL teams have been paying coaches not to coach for decades.

Take Lindy Infante for example. He has been enjoying a wonderful retirement on a St. Johns County beach for a couple of decades after getting buyouts not to coach to Colts and the Packers. He joked once that if he could get fired from one more job his grandchildren also would be set for life.

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