Ryan Day will be sticking around Columbus for a while, and his wallet will reap the benefits.
The Ohio State head coach is up for a contract extension through 2026 that would increase his pay to nearly $5.4 million in 2020, $6.5 million in 2021 and $7.6 million the following year, according to a university release Tuesday.
The contract is still pending Board of Trustees approval, but the increase in pay would vault Day from the latter half of Big Ten head coaching salaries –– he made $4.5 million in 2019 –– to the upper echelon.
According to USA Today’s annual database, Day was the seventh-highest paid head football coach in the Big Ten in 2019, but his near million-dollar raise for the upcoming season will put him at a figure that just three head coaches in the conference made more than this past year.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was at the top of the Big Ten heap in 2019, raking in $7.5 million from the school before bonuses, which was less than only Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney in the national landscape.
Swinney and Saban made $9.2 and $7.5 million, respectively, this past season before bonuses.
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm was the second-highest earning Big Ten head coach, with a salary of $6.6 million, while Penn State head coach James Franklin brought in $5.6 million on his salary.
Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern, Nebraska’s Scott Frost and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz all made more than Day in 2019, but his new salary would put him ahead of their salaries from this past season.
If every head coach in college football’s salary, outside of Day, remained the same in 2020, the Buckeye coach would improve from No. 22 to No. 12 among the highest paid in the country.
It won’t be until 2022 that Day’s salary will match the $7.6-million mark that former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was paid in his final season with the school in 2018, which was the second-most of any head coach in the country at the time.
In 2010 — Jim Tressel’s final season as head coach for Ohio State before NCAA investigations led to the end of his Buckeye tenure — Tressel earned a salary of $3.5 million.
Tressel’s immediate replacement, former Ohio State assistant coach Luke Fickell, was paid a salary of $775,000 as the interim head coach for the Buckeyes in 2011, according to his contract, before Meyer took over the permanent post.
When Day took over as interim head coach for three games in 2018 following Meyer’s suspension, he was paid a total of $487,000 on top of the $810,000 salary he earned as the Buckeyes’ quarterbacks coach, according to a letter obtained by The Lantern in 2018.
By contrast, former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayesbrought in $12,500 in 1951 –– his first year on the job –– and $43,000 in 1978, his final year with the program, according to news reports.
Accounting for inflation, Hayes’ Buckeye salary would have started around $124,000 by today’s value, and ended at approximately $170,000.