The Highest Paid State Employees in the U.S. Will Surprise You

Chances are, the highest-paid state employee in your state isn’t a college president, a medical professional, or even the governor. The highest-paid state employee in your state is probably a college football coach — and by a wide margin. In almost half of U.S. states, college football coaches turn out to be the highest-paid state employees. Most coaches have a salary in excess of $1 million per year. Then there’s Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Clemson Tigers, who makes a reported $9.3 million. Compare that with the modest $370,000 a year made by the head of the Alaska Department of Revenue or $285,000 made by the Chief Medical Examiner of the State of Maine. So, why are college football coaches paid so much? Schools are willing to pay football coaches big money because they’re gambling that the coach will win games, increasing ticket and merchandise sales. The more games the team wins, the more attention they garner, and that translates to increased student enrollment and more donor money. Sponsorship, endorsements, and TV broadcasting are also dependent on winning games. So, in the end, it’s all about the bottom line.