Cincinnati will soon be in the Big 12, and now it’s paying like it
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell agreed to a new contract with the Bearcats through 2028 that will make him the third-highest paid coach in the Big 12.
Whenever Cincinnati begins Big 12 competition, whether that be in 2023 or 2024, head football coach Luke Fickell will reportedly be one of the highest compensated coaches in the league.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that Fickell has agreed to a new contract with Cincinnati that will pay him $5 million a year through 2028.
Additionally, Cincinnati is expected to increase the salary pool for Fickell’s staff to $5.2 million, an increase of more $1.4 million, according to ESPN.
“I appreciate the efforts of (athletic director) John Cunningham and president (Neville G.) Pinto, who realize in order for us to take the next step to grow the program and go to the Big 12 that we have to invest in people, not just the head coach,” Fickell told ESPN.
Under Fickell, Cincinnati has become the premier program in the Group of Five — the Bearcats are 48-15 in five years under Fickell, including 22-2 over the last two seasons — and the first non-Power Five team to be selected for the College Football Playoff.
Among current and future Big 12 schools, Fickell ranks No. 3 in coach salary behind only Oklahoma’s Brent Venables ($7 million) and Texas’ Steve Sarkisian ($5.4 million), among contracts that are publicly available.
Also on Tuesday, Baylor announced that it has finalized a new contract with head coach. Dave Aranda. The extension goes through 2029, although compensation details were not released, as Baylor is a private institution.
This past season, Aranda led Baylor to wins in the Big 12 championship game and the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Bears finished with a 12-2 record — including a win over BYU — the most wins in program history.
Baylor was picked to finish eighth in the conference in the preseason media poll, but ultimately defeated a school-record five ranked opponents and recorded the program’s first BCS/New Year’s Six bowl win.
“My family and I are truly appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from Mack, President Livingstone, and the entire Waco community,” Aranda said in a statement.
“We are both incredibly grateful and proud to call Baylor our home. I look forward to continuing the work we’ve started on and off the field in the years to come.”
Big 12 coach salaries (current and future schools)
- Brent Venables (Oklahoma) — $7 million, per ESPN.
- Steve Sarkisian (Texas) — $5.4 million, per ESPN.
- Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) — $5 million, per ESPN.
- Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) — $4.875 million, per The Oklahoman.
- Sonny Dykes (TCU) — between $4 million and $6 million, per Fort Worth Star Telegram.
- Dave Aranda (Baylor) — over $4 million, per 247 Sports.
- Matt Campbell (Iowa State) — $4 million, per USA Today.
- Dana Holgerson (Houston) — $4 million, per Houston Chronicle.
- Chris Klieman (Kansas State) — $3.5 million, per KStateSports.
- Joey McGuire (Texas Tech) — $3 million, per On3.
- Neal Brown (West Virginia) — $2.9 million, per WVSportsNow.
- Lance Leopold (Kansas) — $2.8 million, per USA Today.
- Gus Malzahn (UCF) — $2.3 million, per Orlando Sentinel.
*BYU head coach Kalani Sitake recently agreed to a contact extension, but specifics are not known as BYU is a private institution.