Ohio State’s Ryan Day received three-year extension, becomes one of highest-paid coaches in Big Ten

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day raises the Stagg Championship Trophy along with Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver K.J. Hill Jr. (14), Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) and Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (2) following the Buckeyes' 34-21 victory against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ohio State has reached a three-year contract extension with football coach Ryan Day, the school announced Tuesday.

The agreement, which remains subject to final approval from the university’s board of trustees, keeps Day under contract through 2026 and makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten.

Under the terms, he will receive $5.4 million next season, along with a one-time $1 million contribution toward his retirement plan on Dec. 31.

>>Photos: See photos of Ryan Day with Ohio State

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Day had been eligible for a raise this month, according to his existing contract, a five-year deal worth $4.5 million annually that was signed last year when he took over for the retired Urban Meyer.

In his first full season, Day led the Buckeyes to a conference championship and a return to the College Football Playoff as they won their first 13 games by double digits before a loss to Clemson in a semifinal.

Before his promotion, Day, 40, had been offensive coordinator and was viewed as a rising star in the coaching industry. He served as acting coach for the first three games in 2018 when Meyer was suspended for his handling of domestic violence allegations involving Zach Smith, a former assistant coach.

>>Read more: Ryan Day’s rise from New Hampshire kid to Ohio State football coach

Ohio State’s board of trustees is expected to approve the extension when they meet Wednesday and Thursday.

Including the retirement plan contribution, the total value of Day’s contract for next season is $6.4 million.

Among coaches at the Big Ten’s public schools, only Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is slated to make more in 2020 at $8.05 million, which includes a $2 million life insurance premium payment.

Penn State coach James Franklin is owed $5.95 million in total compensation, putting him behind Day, though terms of a contract extension agreed to last December have not been publicly disclosed.

Day also will likely be among the top-10 highest-paid coaches in the nation next season. His $5.4 million in basic compensation for 2020 includes his annualized salary, which increases to $6 million on July 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2021.

Day’s salary will continue to rise in the coming years, getting a bump to $6.5 million in total compensation in 2021, then $7.6 million in 2022. Those figures kick in on Feb. 1 of each of those years.

Ohio State can further increase his salary in 2023 at a figure set by athletic director Gene Smith and approved by the board of trustees.

Last season, Day was the seventh highest-paid public school coach in the Big Ten at $4.5 million before earning $450,000 in performance bonuses from the team’s playoff appearance.

In a statement, Smith touted Day’s “management of this football program, from mentoring and leading our student-athletes in their academic pursuits and off-field endeavors to coaching them on the playing field.”

The announcement also noted that 23 players from last season’s team were college graduates, a record for the program.

Meyer received $7.6 million in total compensation during his final season in 2018 and crossed the $6.4 million threshold in his second-to-last season, 2017.


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