How Much Athletic Directors Make: 2011

Submitted by Yostbound and Down on October 6th, 2011 at 10:15 AM

This USA Today database has all FBS athletic directors salaries for the year along with additional compensation.

Adam Rittenberg listed in this article the highest paid ADs in the B1G.


Gene Smith is the fifth highest paid AD in the country and highest paid in the B1G at $1,058,546 ($250,000 in potential bonuses). 

Barry Alvarez comes close to Smith at sixth in the country, at $1,040,800.

And our own Dave Brandon comes in at thirteenth nationally, and third in the B1G, at $700,454 ($165,000).


Thoughts? Obviously LOL Smith, but I was a bit surprised to see that Alvarez stands to make that much more money than Brandon. I guess DB is still early in his career at Michigan...would be interested to see if he's getting paid less because he's already loaded.



October 6th, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

How in the world is Vandy's AD the highest paid in the country?  It's also interesting to see the SEC schools about average compared to other BCS conferences considering what their coaches and assistants get paid.  Is this because most SEC schools offer fewer scholarship sports?  I want some excellent MGoDbaser to tell us who the highest paid AD is per scholly sport at their school.


October 6th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

Vanderbilt doesn't have an AD or a formal athletic Department. The man they list is in charge of  a department that includes the Greek System, the Hospital System, and all sports.

In addition, he's the school's General Counsel, a tenured professor of law, and a Vice Chancellor.

If you have more questions, an article accompanying the list details it:


October 6th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Well, I should revise.

I'm not aware of compliance issues at Vanderbilt. I think he disliked the idea of the Athletic Department being autonomous because they may not make decisions with the interest of the University as whole in mind. At a school like Vanderbilt, which doesn't compromise much, if at all, on admissions for revenue athletes, I understand the arugment that you want to keep the AD within the purview of the general University.


October 6th, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

Damn, Vandy knows how to avoid bureaucracy. If one (well-paid) individual can do all there at a school (private of course), why does Michigan insist on all these unnecessary positions? Go into any dorm and you'll find a "vice-assistant-managing-peer-mentor-of-minority-and-suburban-student-academics". Public schools need to learn to run themselves like Private schools to some extent.  Typical of any public institution though I suppose.


October 6th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

Given the economy of Ohio (and sadly, nationally), people will be pissed that Smith, who is a multi-millionaire made so many mistakes and let the NCAA severely (hopefully) punish their beloved program


October 6th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

Would you?  It's easy to say others who are successful should be paid less, but it's human nature to want to be appreciated & paid fairly for what they do.  He does have a wife and children.  I don't see Warren Buffet taking a $1 year salary or paying extra taxes.


October 6th, 2011 at 11:23 AM ^

Brandon has already made his fortune in the business world. It was the same thing with Bill Martin; he worked without a salary his first year on the job, IIRC.


October 6th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

The next Big East AD, Pitt, makes less than half of that.

Since when was Louisville an athletic powerhouse justifying this guy's inflated salary?   I didn't see any footnotes on him either.

Next surprise is MSU's Mark Hollis.  For fielding 3 major sports teams that have been doing well, he makes peanuts.

Mr. Yost

October 6th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

I work in D1 college athletics, I just sent this around the office...very good info. Would love to have my name on that list one day (not going to happen if I'm on MGoBlog all day thought, huh?)

With that said, I'll explain some of this a little...

Gene Smith is widely considered a GREAT AD...he's lost that luster the past few months. But until then, he, Jurich and Foley were considered the top 3 AD's in the country by many. Dodds would be right there too.

OSU has had the largest operating budget in D1 athletics for awhile...Gene Smith flat out MAKES MONEY. He capitalizes on those crazy ass Ohio fans and raises money like you wouldn't believe. During his tenture the athletics programs have all done well too, obviously football and men's basketball steer the ship, and they've both had success (whether legit or not). Can't argue what he makes...he pulls in an insane amount of money. He also puts a lot of it back into the athletics department and its programs.

Alvarez is somewhat of a sham...he makes that much because he put that football program on the map. That's it. He hasn't done a damn thing in terms of athletics administration to earn that...but he put Wisconsin where it's at and this is his reward for doing so. No way the AD at Wisky should make more than Michigan...but if there is one's Alvarez.

Foley, now he's making his money because UF athletics has gone crazy with him at the helm. Basketball and Football have mulitiple national championships, the SEC is stronger than ever, SEC has a TV network now, UF now has other sports doing well...AND he's cheap when it comes to spending on new facilities. Foley is like the golden boy. Look at those BONUSES!!!!!

If Brandon can get Michigan football and basketball back on top, he'll move into that $1 million a year range. But right now he's about right. He's a businessman and a marketer...he's going to make money, just like Gene Smith did.

Tom Jurich, holy smokes! But he is a lot like Foley. If he can get Louisville to the Big 12 along with WVU and TCU...LOOKOUT. They'll be a power in 10 years. He's built the's a matter of time. If you study athletics administration...Jurich is someone to look at. He and Foley have a lot of similarities.


Who's the biggest surprise to me? Not David Williams, he works for the he doesn't get paid all of that to be an AD at Vandy. The biggest shocker is Chet Gladchuk at Navy! WTF!? That guy has everyone fooled! He's making bank and no one expect his teams to do ANYTHING! Plus he gets to live in beautiful Annapolis, Maryland. He's going to have strong academics and discipline obviously. I mean really, he get's paid more than the AD at Michigan and has 1/100th the expectations. #easystreet


October 6th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

Is Smith really that highly regarded?  I thought it was his predecessor, Andy Geiger, that really got the gravy train going.  Smith's just had to keep it up (and make sure his programs aren't cheating).

Mr. Yost

October 6th, 2011 at 8:53 PM ^

Just a mean-spirited grumpy old man type. He also didn't do anything special if you asked me...

He certainly didn't bring in the cash like Smith did. He certainly didn't bring the championships like Smith has (once again, legit or not).


Tressell and Matta over Cooper and O'Brien any day of the week if you're a Buckeye fan. With that Smith over Geiger any day of the week.

Naked Bootlegger

October 6th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

Good ol' Barry.   Barry is not only a very rich AD that reeks of emeritus status, but he also gets to admire a statue of himself guarding the entrance of Camp Randall Stadium.   Very creepy.   Since I frequently pass Camp Randall on my way to work every day, I'm dreaming up a photoshop special featuring both Barry's Patton-esque statue and the phallic football statue that adorns the Camp Randall environs.

Section 1

October 6th, 2011 at 6:00 PM ^


Alvarez is somewhat of a sham...he makes that much because he put that football program on the map. That's it. He hasn't done a damn thing in terms of athletics administration to earn that...but he put Wisconsin where it's at and this is his reward for doing so. No way the AD at Wisky should make more than Michigan...but if there is one's Alvarez. 


Wow, that's not my view.  Alvarez turned that football program around.  He has personally held the hands (and flown on the private jets) of UW's biggest boosters.  Those names up on the walls all over Camp Randall are all personal freinds of Alvarez. 

Alvarez now presides over football, basketball and hockey programs that are at the top of the Conference.  And a women's sports program that is second to none.  Great facilities all around, from a revitalized Camp Randall (pre-Alvarez mostly, I might admit) to the Kohl Center (not sure how much credit Alvarez gets) to University Ridge, etc. etc.

And all without (mostly) a whiff of controversy, save for a bit of boozing by Bielema and Bo Ryan.

All in an atmosphere of a University system that Bo Schembechler thought was so annoyingly pc that he walked out on a Wisconsin job offer.  I have a very grudging, but very sincere respect for the remarkable success that Alvarez has earned for himself.


October 6th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

I think it'd look pretty bad if Brandon came in and was earning $1 mil immediately.  I have faith there's a generous year-over-year raise in that contract, plus some performance bonuses for hitting various benchmarks. If there are said performance-based bonuses, and if they're linked to revenue, I'll be a very sad panda.

**Note, I'm not summarily accusing him of selling out Michigan. Either way, if he has performance-based bonuses (like coaches do), I'd be curious as to what they are for and how they could present some conflicts of interest.**

Mr. Yost

October 6th, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

And that's not how the world works.


If you're the CEO of a company...are you getting paid on the quality of your product or how much your product sells.

If you're a music artist...are you getting paid on the quality of your album or how much your cd sells?

If you're a restuarant owner...are you getting paid on how good your food is or how much your stores bring in?


It's a balance, obviously you have to have a quality product...but you have to make money too. There are some VERY good AD's that aren't making shit. There are some terrible AD's making a shit ton. But winning national championships isn't the only thing if you're not selling tickets, merchandise, building facilities and getting people to donate money to your school. You have to do all of those things. The best AD's just like the best CEO's find the right balance.


October 6th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

Along with his previous employment, DB is also on the board of Directors for DTE and I am sure in some lucrative way he is compensated for that position as well. I have a feeling he is able to pay his monthly bills.
<br>In fact he came into my work here at Fermi about a month and a half ago. Being in security I had to check him in. #coolstorybro