USC won its only Bowl Championship Series title four years ago, but Coach Pete Carroll still ranks No. 1 in at least one category.
A new report released today says Carroll was the highest-paid private university employee in the United States during the 2006-07 fiscal year.
Carroll earned $4.4 million in total compensation, four times as much as USC President Steven B. Sample, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
"I'm humbled by it," Carroll said of his position atop the national list.
The study was completed with information from reports that private colleges are required to file annually to the Internal Revenue Service. The 2006-07 fiscal year was the most recent for which complete data are available.
An analysis of compensation packages for employees at 600 private colleges and universities showed Carroll first, followed by dermatologist David N. Silvers, a clinical professor at Columbia University, who earned $4.3 million.
Carroll, 57, has guided USC to two national titles, seven consecutive Pacific 10 Conference championships and seven consecutive BCS bowl games. He ranks among college football's highest-paid coaches.
And Carroll is not alone among football coaches in substantially out-earning college presidents.
Brad Wolverton, an editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education, said coaches' compensation in "football-crazy" conferences often dwarfs college presidents' pay.
In 2007, the Chronicle of Higher Education extrapolated football coaches' salary information contained in a report by USA Today and found that most of the 10 highest-paid presidents at public universities with Division I football programs made half as much as the head football coach.
Texas' Mack Brown, Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Florida's Urban Meyer each earned about four times as much as the presidents at those schools.
That is consistent with Carroll's $4.4-million package in 2006-07, when Sample earned $906,778.
A USC spokesman declined comment.
Carroll signed a five-year contract worth approximately $1 million annually when he was hired to succeed Paul Hackett in December 2000. He received a significant raise after the 2002 season and earned close to $3 million in the 2004 season, which ended with USC winning the BCS title in January 2005. He agreed to a contract extension in December 2005.
David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, said coaches such as Carroll are often the most high-profile personalities on campus and that their roles for their schools go beyond winning games.
"They're involved in business development, not the least of which is helping to build the brand," Carter said. "You really aren't just paying for a coach."
Carroll's hiring has paid off for USC in more than just football titles.
The football program's success also has fueled athletic-department revenue that has grown from $38.6 million in Carroll's first season at USC to more than $76 million in 2007-08.
That includes donations and endowment income that has risen from $13.7 million in 2001-02 to $39 million.
"I just try to do my part," Carroll said.
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The most highly compensated private college employees:
1. Pete Carroll, USC football coach: $4,415,714.
2. David N. Silvers, Columbia University clinical professor, dermatology: $4,332,759.
3. Michael M.E. Johns, Emory University executive vice president, health affairs: $3,753,067.
4. Arthur H. Rubenstein, University of Pennsylvania executive vice president and dean, school of medicine: $3,335,767.
5. Zev Rosenwaks, Cornell University professor, Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility: $3,149,376.
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, report for 2006-07
The Carroll effect
USC's financial fortunes have increased substantially since Pete Carroll was hired as football coach. A year-by-year look at football revenue, donations and endowments and total athletic department revenue:
*--* Year Football Donations, Athletic -- revenue* endowments* revenue* '01-02 $20 $13.7 $38.6 '02-03 $26.8 $14.5 $47 '03-04 $26.2 $21.7 $53 '04-05 $29.2 $27.5 $60.7 '05-06 $27.7 $33.2 $65.4 '06-07 $31.7 $38.3 $76.4 '07-08 $28.6 $39 $76.4 *--*
*In millions of dollars
2007-08 most recent year available
Source: Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education from data submitted annually as required by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act.