Ranking Big Ten head coach salaries: Where does Luke Fickell stand?

Kirby Smart is the highest-paid coach in college football now, so how does Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell match up against him?
Jan 1, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talks on the headset during the Badger's game against LSU.
Jan 1, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talks on the headset during the Badger's game against LSU. / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

In college football, nothing can run without a head coach on the sideline. The head coaches their hand in everything that is happening on the field, whether they call the plays or not. They are the most important coach on the field, and that is why they make the big money.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is making waves by becoming the highest-paid coach in college football. With Nick Saban now out of the picture and Smart signing a new contract worth $13 million a year, Smart moves right into first place.

So looking at the Big Ten, there are many coaches that take top spots in the coaching ranks based on salary. USC coach Lincoln Riley is one of the top-paid coaches after Smart. So how do the Big Ten coaches rank against each other? More importantly, Where does Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell rank among his fellow coaches?

18. David Braun, Northwestern Wildcats: unknown
17. DeShaun Foster, UCLA Bruins: $3 million
16. Ryan Walters, Purdue Boilermakers: $4 million
15. Curt Cignetti, Indiana Hoosiers: $4.2 million
14. Matt Rhule, Nebraska Cornhuskers: $5.5 million
T10: Jonathan Smith, Michigan State Spartans: $6 million
T10. Sherrone Moore: Michigan Wolverines: $6 million
T10. Bret Bielema, Illinois Fighting Illini: $6 million
T10. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota Holden Gophers: $6 million
9. Mike Locksley, Maryland Terrapins: $6.1 million
8. Greg Schiano, Rutgers Scarlet Knights: $6.2 million
7. James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions: $6.5 million
T-5. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Hawkeyes: $7 million
T-5. Dan Lanning, Oregon Ducks: $7 million
4. Luke Fickell, Wisconsin Badgers: $7.6 million
3. Jedd Fisch, Washington Huskies: $7.7 million
2. Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes: $9.5 million
1. Lincoln Riley, USC Trojans: $10 million

Fickell came to Wisconsin from Cincinnati after he took the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff. That team was the first Group of Five program to make the Playoff and so far is the only one to do it. Fickell knows how to bring in solid players and he is finally starting to get his footing in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin has made Fickell the fourth highest-paid coach in the Big Ten which is impressive for a coach that comes from a Group of Five program.