An 11-2 season and an Orange Bowl win wasn’t even in the realm of possibilities 24 months ago when Josh Heupel was hired at Tennessee. And yet, that’s exactly what he did.
Heupel was hired to win fast at Tennessee, a notion that Danny White tossed at us during his search back in 2021. Considering the state of the program at the time, not too many of us believed him. Since then, Heupel has gone 18-8 overall and made two bowl appearances. His offense finished first in the country in yards per game — a truly stunning transformation from the Jeremy Pruitt era.
A turnaround that happens that quickly, especially in the SEC, deserves a hefty reward. White did just that on Tuesday, announcing the long awaited raise for Heupel. He will now make $9 million per year as Tennessee’s head coach, a dramatic increase from the $5 million he made in 2022.
Where does that rank him among SEC head coaches? A tie for fifth, with Lane Kiffin. Of course, Nick Saban and Kirby Smart lead the way, while high-profile hires Brian Kelly and Jimbo Fisher check in at third and fourth.
Raises were common among the SEC this year, with Lane Kiffin, Mark Stoops, Eli Drinkwitz and Shane Beamer receiving new deals. Here’s the full look after all the dust has settled. (Numbers via 247Sports).
Current SEC Head Coach Salaries
1. Nick Saban ($11.7 million)
2. Kirby Smart ($11.2 million)
3. Brian Kelly ($9.5 million)
3. Jimbo Fisher ($9.5 million)
5. Lane Kiffin ($9 million)
5. Josh Heupel ($9 million)
7. Mark Stoops ($8.6 million)
8. Billy Napier ($7.2 million)
9. Hugh Freeze ($6.5 million)
10. Shane Beamer ($6.2 million)
11. Sam Pittman ($6 million)
11. Eli Drinkwitz ($6 million)
13. Zach Arnett ($3 million)
(Clark Lea’s contract is not public.)