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UT-Austin football coach Steve Sarkisian to make more than $10 million a year after pay bump

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By Pooja Salhotra, The Texas Tribune

UT-Austin football coach Steve Sarkisian to make more than $10 million a year after pay bump” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Steve Sarkisian, the head football coach at the University of Texas at Austin, will earn a guaranteed salary of $10.3 million this year, a substantial pay raise that will put him among the highest-paid division 1 football coaches nationwide.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the pay increase during a Thursday meeting. The terms of employment had already been approved by the school’s leadership and general counsel.

Under the new contract, Sarkisian will receive a pay bump of $100,000 each year until the termination of the agreement at the end of 2030, when he will earn a guaranteed $10.9 million. That represents a 78% overall increase in Sarkisian’s guaranteed salary. He will earn at least $74.2 million over the duration of the contract.

Sarkisian became head coach in 2021 after UT-Austin abruptly fired former coach Tom Herman. His initial contract was for six years and included a $5.2 million salary in his first year and a guaranteed raise of $200,000 annually.

The terms of the new agreement also increase Sarkisian’s performance incentives by 124%. For example, if the team wins the conference championship, Sarkisian will earn an additional $300,000.

UT-Austin announced last month that Sarkisian agreed to a four-year extension through 2030. The announcement came on the heels of a successful season for the Longhorns, who won a Big 12 title in their last season in the league and appeared in the College Football Playoff. The team finished 12-2 after losing a national semifinal and ranked number three overall. Sarkisian was also named Big 12 Coach of the Year. He has a 25-14 record over three seasons at UT-Austin.

“We’re thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish and proud of the culture we’ve built and the way our players have grown — on and off the field,” Sarkisian said in a Jan. 13 statement. “But we’re just getting started. I’ve said it all along, we’ve been building this program for long term success. We’re here to chase greatness, win championships, and be one of the best in the nation year in and year out.”

Football coaches are often among the highest-paid public employees in the state. Texas A&M’s head football coach Mike Elko earns an annual base salary of $7 million. Elko was hired last year after the school spent over $75 million to buy out former head coach Jimbo Fisher’s contract. Fisher had earned an annual salary of $9 million.

Sarkisian was previously Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Before that, he was head coach for the University of Washington and the University of Southern California.

Disclosure: University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas System have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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