Want to be a Coachâ€™s agent?
David Beckham, move aside. You are only an extreme case in a sport that has notoriously paid low salaries to its players.
Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, and Dom Capers; please stand up.
In the past, I have written articles that document the recent splurge in payment to college coaches [Want to be a College Coach’s Agent? and Want to be a College Coach’s Agent? Part II]. But in all fairness, we should not only be looking at college coaches, because coaches in professional leagues are seeing their figures increase and coaches see a lot of movement between the college and professional ranks. That is why I introduce this new post that does not draw a line between different coaching areas.
The recent signings of Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, and Dom Capers say a lot about the future of coaching and reveal a great deal of information that may be very useful for Sports Agents to understand.
First of all, let us look at Nick Saban. While I am not too fond of the man (I am a Dolphins fan), he has set a new benchmark for a future college coach to beat. His $4 million per year contract with the University of Alabama beats Bob Stoops’ contract by $.55 million on the surface. For some reason, I do not see Saban’s contract being the most expensive for long.
Next let’s look at Bobbi Petrino. I commented on this site about his excellent contract that he had at the University of Louisville on July 25, 2006. The problem is that Louisville’s offer is garbage compared to the 5-year $24 million that was offered to Petrino by the Atlanta Falcons [Atlanta Falcons get their Man]. Like Saban, Petrino shows that there is ample money to be paid to coaches and that coaches are not afraid to say “peace” to their former employer.
The stories of Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino also bring out an interesting topic on buyout clauses. The Sports Law Blog notes that it is very important for any coach’s agent to understand writing buyout clauses, which is part of the curriculum that is taught in law school (I cannot wait to learn more about this in the next 3 years of my life). Many coach contracts are terminated before the time frame of the contract has elapsed. It seems as though Saban’s agent orchestrated an easy buyout clause which led Nick sailing away to Alabama. Petrino did not have a tough time either, only having to pay the University of Louisville $1 million to end his contract. Agents need to know their clients. If you know that your client will take another coaching job for an increase of salary without any qualms, then make sure that the contract allows your client to leave without paying a lot of money for doing so.
Last, take a look at Dom Capers. Not too long ago, he was a struggling head coach in the NFL. Now he has become the highest paid assistant coach and will rake in $8.1 million over 3 years [Fins to make Capers highest-paid assistant]. When assistants start making $2.7 million per year, the field of representing coaches starts to look even more promising.
And across the board, salaries may continue to increase, because as Skip Sauer of The Sports Economist points out, a salary cap on coaches would violate anti-trust law. Representing coaches may not be a big money maker on the endorsement side of the industry and the clients that you represent may not be marquee names that get you in the paper, but last I checked, making a decent commission on $4 million a year is not too shabby.