ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If you had to pick the Big Ten’s big-name football coach who enjoyed the most profitable postseason, you might be surprised to find out it wasn’t Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh or Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.
Penn State coach James Franklin stands to take home at least $750,000 in bonuses after the Nittany Lions stormed to a Big Ten championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl.
Harbaugh and Meyer? They earned a fraction of Franklin’s windfall, and less than Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who earned half a million dollars simply for winning eight games in 2016.
Landof10 obtained the contracts of seven of the nine Big Ten coaches whose teams earned bowl berths through public records requests. Northwestern is a private school and exempt from public records laws, while Penn State has Franklin’s contract terms posted on its athletic department website.
Here’s a look at what some of the Big Ten’s football coaches earned in bowl bonuses for the 2016 postseason:
James Franklin, Penn State
Rose Bowl: 52-49 loss to USC
Franklin earned a $350,000 bonus for Penn State winning the Big Ten championship, then earned an additional $300,000 for his team’s Rose Bowl berth.
Franklin also earned a $100,000 bonus for being named the Big Ten’s coach of the year, and his contract terms also state that he earns $150,000 for being named national coach of the year. Franklin was named the 2016 Woody Hayes Coach of the year and the Sporting News Coach of the Year.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Outback Bowl: 30-3 loss to Florida
Ferentz earned $100,000 for earning a bowl berth, but got a bigger bonus simply by reaching a certain threshold.
When Iowa earned its eighth win on Nov. 25 against Nebraska, Ferentz earned $500,000 — a clause in his contract states that an eight-win season will garner Ferentz half a million dollars.
Ferentz, however, missed out on another bonus when Iowa wasn’t ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll. Ferentz would have earned at least $125,000 had Iowa cracked the top 25.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Orange Bowl: 33-32 loss to Florida State
Harbaugh may be the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten, salary-wise, but his post-Christmas bonus wasn’t as big as the checks some of his conference coaching counterparts received. Harbaugh earned a $200,000 bonus for Michigan’s berth in a New Year’s Six bowl.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
College Football Playoff: 31-0 loss to Clemson in national semifinal
Meyer earned a $250,000 bonus for qualifying for the College Football Playoff — only $50,000 more than he would have earned had Ohio State merely made a New Year’s Six bowl. That controversial win against Michigan to end the regular season helped pad Meyer’s bank account.
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: 24-16 win against Western Michigan
Wisconsin calculates postseason bonuses for its coaches based on base pay; Chryst’s contract states that his annual contracted base salary is $1 million. Chryst earned 4 percent of his contracted base salary ($40,000) for Wisconsin’s appearance in the Big Ten title game — a 38-31 loss to Penn State — and is eligible to earn 15 percent of his contracted base salary ($150,000) for the Cotton Bowl win.
Mike Riley, Nebraska
Music City Bowl: 38-24 loss to Tennessee
Riley earned $150,000 for Nebraska’s berth in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, yet a 40-10 loss to Iowa in the final game of the regular season cost him. If Nebraska had won, it would have earned a share of the Big Ten West title and Riley would have stood to earn a $100,000 bonus.
D.J. Durkin, Maryland
Quick Lane Bowl: 36-30 loss to Boston College
Durkin earned a $25,000 bonus for Maryland’s third bowl appearance in the last four seasons, and Durkin’s first bowl appearance as a head coach. But losing to Boston College cost the Terrapins’ first-year coach an additional $25,000. Durkin’s contract specifies that if he wins a bowl game he receives an additional bonus.
Minnesota presented an unusual situation. Minnesota fired head coach Tracy Claeys on Jan. 3, a week after the Gophers’ 17-12 win against Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. Claeys’ firing came following the school suspension of 10 players for their alleged involvement in a sexual assault in September, and an ensuing two-day boycott that Claeys supported.
Minnesota hired former Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck three days after Claeys was fired. Fleck’s contract, released Thursday by the University of Minnesota, stipulates that Fleck would receive $75,000 for a bowl bid. Claeys’ contract stated that he would earn $75,000 if Minnesota received a bowl bid, $50,000 for five Big Ten wins and $25,000 for each additional win. Minnesota finished 5-4 in the Big Ten.
Indiana lost to Utah, 26-24, in the Foster Farms Bowl after some more coaching drama. On Dec. 1, about four weeks before Indiana’s bowl game, Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson resigned less than a year after signing a six-year contract extension. Wilson’s departure came after two investigations into player treatment.
Wilson earned $150,000 for his team’s 2015 appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl. Prior to his resignation, he stood to earn a bonus between $100,000 and $200,000, contingent upon the Foster Farms Bowl payout.