Here’s How Much a D3 College Football Coach Makes

There are numerous college football divisions, including D3. But because they are less popular, they have a smaller budget, and the coach makes less money. 

The average annual salary for a D3 college football coach is $43,490, but the actual salary earned can be much higher when factoring in other contractual bonuses. The pay also ranges widely based on the program’s success, with some of the winningest D3 coaches earning over $100,000. 

All salary data was gathered using job sites like ZipRecruiter and actual salary data reported by the news or on state government websites. We will explain how much a D3 college football coach makes and how it compares to other college coaches. 

How Much Does A D3 College Football Coach Make?

According to a survey conducted by the NCAA in 2021, the average salary for a head coach at a D3 football program was around $43,490 annually. This is significantly lower than the average salary for a Division I head coach. 

Division III colleges and universities are typically smaller institutions that offer a more balanced educational experience focusing on academics and student-athlete development. They also have lower sports budgets. 

How Much Does A D3 College Football Coach Make

Regarding compensation, D3 college football coaches typically earn less than their counterparts at Division I and II levels. The salaries for D3 coaches are much closer to what D2 coaches make but not comparable to any D1 program. 

However, it’s important to note that the salary of a D3 college football coach can vary depending on several factors, including the school’s size and resources, the team’s success, and the coach’s experience and track record. 

The different coaching positions within an organization also determine the expected salary. Most teams have head coaches, assistant coaches, trainers, and medical staff members. 

Head Coaches

The estimated average salary for a D3 college football coach is $43,490. However, teams competing at the highest level and winning championships will make closer to $100,000 annually.

As with other levels of college football, the head coach of a D3 football team is responsible for leading and directing the team, including game strategies, recruiting and developing players, and managing the overall program. 

The head coach also plays a crucial role in fundraising and other activities related to the football program. But this is only complete with a reliable staff of assistants, trainers, and medical staff. 

How Much Does A D3 College Football Coach Make

Assistant Coaches

Based on ZipRecruiter data, a D3 assistant coach makes between $11,000 and $60,500​. This equates to an average of $39,990. 

This depends on the program, success, and other factors like how much the head coach earns.

Because the talent gap can be prominent at this level, the top programs can have a much larger budget to pay football coaching staff members. 

Is There a Minimum Salary For D3 College Football Coaches?

There is no minimum salary for D3 college football coaches. D3 colleges are part of the NCAA Division III, the lowest level of competition in college sports. 

These schools do not offer athletic scholarships, and the athletes are not considered professional. As a result, the coaches at D3 schools are often paid less than those at higher levels of competition, such as Division I or II.

The salaries of D3 football coaches can vary widely depending on several factors, including the school’s size and resources, the team’s success, and the coach’s experience and credentials. 

Some D3 football coaches may earn a salary similar to those at the high school level, while others may earn more. In general, however, D3 football coaches are not highly paid, and many have other responsibilities or jobs besides coaching.

What Does The Highest Paid D3 College Football Coach Make?

It’s hard to say who the highest-paid Division III college football is because the schools are much more private about earnings. The national media do not cover them, so contracts don’t typically get leaked. 

It’s rare to find a Division III coach making over $100,000. One of the best coaches, who currently receive multiple millions per year at Kansas, was Lance Leipold.

Here's how much a d3 college football coach makes

In 2014, Lance coached at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, earning around $110,000, according to public records. He won the championship in seven out of eight years, so it’s safe to assume this was the top salary. 

He jumped to Division I to coach at Buffalo in 2015, receiving a pay increase closer to $500,000 per year. He spent a few years there before moving to Kansas, receiving a pay increase after one year to make over $5 million annually

This highlights the massive pay differences in each division of college football. It also indicates the difference in revenue these teams are generating. 

D3 College Football Coach Salary Comparison

The national average salary for a college football coach is $137,293. But this is not what all coaches make, and it’s calculated across every college football division, factoring in the highest and lowest numbers too. 

Division I Coach

The average college football coach at the NCAA Division I level (the highest level of college football in the United States) earned a salary of $1.75 million per year. 

This figure includes all forms of compensation, including base salary, bonuses, and other forms of pay. It’s important to note that this average figure includes coaches at all levels of the sport, from the highest-paid coaches to those at smaller, less successful programs. 

There is a significant range in the salaries of college football coaches, with some making much more and others making much less than the average. 

The highest-paid coach in college football is Dabo Swinney of Clemson University, earning $11.5 million annually. Many of the top coaches cause the average to skew too. 

Division II Coach

It’s challenging to provide an exact average salary for Division II college football coaches, as salaries can vary widely depending on the institution and the program’s success. 

However, it’s known that Division II coaches earn significantly less than their counterparts at the Division I level. According to salary data, the median salary for a head football coach at a Division II program is $47,020 annually. 

This figure is significantly lower than the average salary for a Division I coach, which is over $1 million. This is because of the revenue differences generated by programs at these levels too. 

college football

NAIA Coach

Division III is considered higher, better, and more competitive than NAIA football. D3 teams tend to beat NAIA schools about 80% of the time, resulting in lower football and athletics budgets for NAIA teams. 

An NAIA coach will still earn around the same on average, but the gap is much wider, and there is less of a ceiling for the top schools. For example, the top-earning NAIA football program is Saint Francis (Ind.), making $3.3 million in revenue. 

This is a small number when considering the salary for the coaching staff, and it’s difficult to reach higher than $100,000 at this level.  

Key Takeaways

  • On average, a Division III college football head coach will earn a base salary of $43,490. However, it’s possible for more successful coaches at this level to reach $100,00 with bonuses too. 
  • The highest-paid D3 college football coach only makes a little above $100,000. For example, Lance Leipold won seven championships and earned around $110,000. 
  • The salary for D2 coaches is close when compared to D3. However, the average D1 wage is significantly higher at well over $1 million.