New deal in hand, Meyer is staying put at Florida

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

When your university president says you deserve to get paid, you know it's only a matter of time.

Florida officials put the finishing touches Monday on a new six-year, $24 million contract for Urban Meyer, making him the SEC's highest paid coach in 2009 at $4 million per year.

Bernie Machen, Florida's president, said back in May that Meyer deserved to be the SEC's highest paid coach. And when you look at what Meyer has done in Gainesville in his four years there, it's hard to argue with Machen.

In fact, Meyer probably deserves to be college football's highest paid coach. This new deal will push him right there near the very top.

Alabama's Nick Saban signed an eight-year, $32 million deal when he came back to college football in 2007. He will earn $3.9 million this season, and his salary will go all the way up to $4.2 million in 2012, 2013 and 2014 -- the final three years of the deal.

LSU's Les Miles jumped up to $3.751 million after winning the BCS national championship in 2007.

The contract he signed in March 2008 called for him to be paid no less than the highest paid coach at a public university in the SEC, plus $1,000. Hence, the $3.751 million salary. Saban was the highest paid coach in the league at that time and making $3.75 million.

The way Miles' contract is worded doesn't mean he will automatically get another bump to surpass Meyer. According to LSU general counsel Ray Lamonica right after Miles signed his deal in 2008, Miles would be entitled to a second raise which would again make him the SEC's highest paid coach only if he wins another BCS national title.

Nationally, Southern California's Pete Carroll makes a reported $4.4 million, which would put him at the top of the list. Notre Dame's Charlie Weis is also believed to make more than $4 million annually, although USC and Notre Dame are both private institutions and don't release salary figures.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops received a new deal in June that will pay him $30.125 million over the next seven years. Stoops is set to earn $3.675 million this season. But counting retention bonuses, he would see his salary increase to $4.875 million in 2011.

Meyer's new $4 million-a-year deal also doesn't count bonuses and incentives. For instance, he earned $375,000 this past season for winning the BCS national title and SEC title.

You never say never when it comes to the money they're throwing at college coaches these days, but this new deal should quiet most of the chatter about Meyer bolting for Notre Dame down the road.

At some point (when you get to $4 million a year), the money is almost like Monopoly money.

Plus, Meyer wants to be at a place where he can sustain success, a place where he can build off the success he's already had. There's no better place in the country to do that than where he is right now.

Meyer knows that as well as anybody, and he also has an athletic director, Jeremy Foley, who gets it as well as anybody.

The rest of the SEC might want to come to grips with reality: Meyer's going to be at Florida for a while.