USA Today released their database of salaries for all reporting college football head coaches, and South Florida Bulls head coach Charlie Strong checked in on the list tied for 14th highest-paid coach, pulling in $5 million for the 2019 season thanks to a year three retention bonus. Ironically, Strong is tied with Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, and Florida State head coach Willie Taggart.
Charlie Strong is the 16th highest-paid coach in college football.— Florida Statute Section 1004.28(5)(b) (@BullsNathanSBN) October 22, 2019
$2.5 million salary PLUS a $2.5 million retention bonus paid out this year through the secret contract @MarkHarlan_AD and the USF Foundation made with Strong. https://t.co/fl4T3SyRi5
Harlan told media today that Strong will be at the bowl game in his suite. He also said that there’s a $2.5 million retention bonus for Strong if he stays at USF for year three. That part of the deal wasn’t in the contract released on Wednesday.
The reason that part of the deal wasn’t in the contract released is because—as you know by now—there’s a second contract between Strong and the USF Foundation that is shielded from public records requests. The USF Foundation is a Direct-Support Organization and thanks to Florida Statute Section 1004.28(5)(b), protects them from Florida’s broad Sunshine laws regarding public records.
The Bulls finished 2017—Strong’s first season at USF— 10-2 with a win over Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl. Since then, Strong’s teams are a combined 10-10, and losers of 10 of their last 13 games.
The fan base is understandably fed up, and this just adds fuel to that fire. Strong is making more than #3 Ohio State head coach Ryan Day ($4.5 million), TCU head coach Gary Patterson ($4.9 million), Washington head coach Chris Petersen ($4.6 million), and Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst ($4.1 million).
Strong is scheduled to make $2.6 million in 2020, and $2.7 million in 2021, the final year of his contract. It still remains unclear what his exact buyout number is due to the contract with the USF Foundation being protected. Sources have told The Daily Stampede the number is around $5 million.