The best/worst spent green in the SEC

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The SEC has never been shy about spending the green.

It's a virtual arms race in this league to see who can build the biggest stadiums, the fanciest football complexes and the swankiest luxury suites.

Six of the 12 head coaches in the SEC (Nick Saban, Les Miles, Urban Meyer, Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt and Houston Nutt) make $2.5 million or more per year, and one assistant (Monte Kiffin) stands to earn $1.5 million this season.

It's always nice when you have so much money you don't know what to do with it all.

So with money being such a hot topic in our current downtrodden economic climate, let's take a look at where the green is best and worst spent in the SEC:


Nick Saban's eight-year, $32 million contract: Yes, that's an obscene amount of money to pay any college coach, but look what he's done in just two years. Alabama is relevant again and bringing in the kind of recruiting classes that win championships.

Florida's Heavener football complex: From the plush coaches' offices, to the expanded weight room, to the Gateway of Champions entering the building, the Gators have done it up right with their new $28 million complex, which was privately funded by 16 donors.

Bobby Johnson's raise: When Johnson talked with Duke last offseason about its head coaching job, Vanderbilt responded by sweetening Johnson's deal and committing to more upgrades in facilities. It's the best investment the Commodores could have made.


Phillip Fulmer's new contract: Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton awarded Fulmer with a raise and extension after the Vols went to the SEC Championship Game in 2007. But Hamilton turned around and fired Fulmer last season, and as part of that new contract, had to pay him a $6 million parting gift.

Auburn's new basketball arena: Granted, we're not talking hoops here. But why spend any money on a new basketball arena when only a few thousand people are coming anyway when you could spruce up Jordan-Hare Stadium?

Salaries for South Carolina's offensive coaches last season: How is it that a Steve Spurrier-coached team could be so unproductive on offense? The Gamecocks were difficult to watch on offense in 2008. Maybe that's why everybody on the offensive side of the ball is gone from that staff with the exception of Steve Spurrier Jr.