SEC football head coach salaries: Where does Mark Stoops rank?

Kirby Smart just became the highest-paid head coach in the country, but where does Mark Stoops rank in the SEC hierarchy?
Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops
Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Money is always being thrown around in the SEC. From Arkansas coming in with a big offer to take John Calipari off Kentucky’s hands to last week Kirby Smart getting a much-deserved raise. Smart has had a dominant tenure at Georgia and was rewarded for it with a two-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid college football coach in the country, passing Dabo Swinney. 

While Kentucky spent big to bring Mark Pope back to Lexington to replace Calipari, the school still pays more to its incumbent head football coach, Mark Stoops. Stoops was nearly poached away this offseason too before his deal with Texas A&M fell through. Luckily, that didn’t force administrations into handing Stoops a new contract after he got an extension back in 2022. 

Though, with Texas and Oklahoma finally arriving in the SEC this season, the price of an SEC title will only go up, so if Stoops can keep Kentucky on the doorstep of contention in the conference, then he’ll quickly climb up the list of the highest paid coaches. Here’s where he ranks prior to the 2024 season. 

16. Clark Lea, Vanderbilt Commodores: $3.05 million

15. Jeff Lebby, Mississippi State Bulldogs: $4.51 million

14. Sam Pittman, Arkansas Razorbacks: $5.25 million

13. Shane Beamer, South Carolina Gamecocks: $6.125 million

12. Hugh Freeze, Auburn Tigers: $6.5 million

11. Mike Elko, Texas A&M Aggies: $7 million

10. Brent Venables, Oklahoma Sooners: $7.25 million

9. Billy Napier, Florida Gators: $7.5 million

8. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss Rebels: $8.85 million

T5. Mark Stoops, Kentucky Wildcats: $9 million

T5. Josh Huepel, Tennessee Volunteers: $9 million

T5. Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri Tigers: $9 million

4. Brian Kelly, LSU Tigers: $9.5 million

3. Steve Sarkisian, Texas Longhorns: $10.3 million

2. Kalen DeBoer, Alabama Crimson Tide: $10.875 million

1. Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs: $13 million

Kentucky has two top 10 players at NBA combine. Kentucky has two top 10 players at NBA combine. dark. Next