Iowa State coach Matt Campbell is the hottest commodity in college football. Like most hot commodities, he won’t come cheap.
Campbell has led the Cyclones to a three-game winning streak and back in the AP top 25 for the first time in more than a decade. As a result, he’s one of the top up-and-coming coaches in college football. ESPN’s Kirk Herbsteit said Campbell should be the first choice for any program looking for a new coach. But once money is factored in, it’s not simple.
If another school were to hire Campbell this offseason, his contract with Iowa State would require a $9.4 million buyout. Campbell’s buyout is the sum of the remainder salary on his contract, per Football Scoop’s Zach Barnett. He’s making $2.1 million in 2017 and will receive increases of $100,000 each year through 2021. The remaining four years on Campbell’s contract total $9.4 million. That’s an unprecedented amount for any school to pay to buy out a coach.
Factor in another $5 million or so for Campbell’s new salary, plus a similar total for his assistant, and hiring Campbell away from Iowa State could easily cost another program close to $20 million.
Campbell has the Cyclones at 5-2 in his second season in Ames, Iowa, but with three ranked teams next on the docket, a lot can change for the Cyclones in a matter of weeks. Despite Iowa State’s upset of No. 3 Oklahoma, Campbell and the Cyclones have a lot left to prove.
The first half of this season has been a surprise for Iowa State. It would be an even bigger surprise to see some athletic director fork up $20 million to make Campbell his football coach.