Patience is a difficult thing to have in college football, especially for those aspiring to establish themselves as one of the top Group of Five programs in the nation. The Western Michigan Broncos decided to part ways with their former head coach after his only losing campaign in six seasons. In comes Lance Taylor, whose salary is among the best in the MAC and possibly matched by high expectations.
Lance Taylor’s Salary and Contract in 2023
Former Louisville offensive coordinator Taylor signed a five-year contract to become the new head coach of Western Michigan soon after the end of the last college football season, officially becoming the 17th head coach of the Broncos in December 2022.
In his first head coaching role at any level of football, Taylor’s contract automatically makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the MAC. Only Toledo head coach Jason Candle earns more than the new Western Michigan head coach, and the Rockets have a MAC title on their résumé under Candle, setting the level of expectation for the new man in the MAC.
Taylor’s salary as the Western Michigan head coach is $850,000 per year. Not only does that rank second to Candle in the MAC, but it also surpasses his predecessor’s earnings at the time of his firing, a move that cost the Broncos $500,000 in severance pay.
Like most college football coach contracts in the modern era, Taylor’s salary is composed of several parts. The Western Michigan head coach earns a base salary of $200,000 per year, which is bolstered by two separate payments for public-speaking engagements and radio/television appearances.
Taylor earns $325,000 for each of those, accounting for a significant portion of his salary under his current contract terms.
While there are expectations attached to those numbers, Western Michigan Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae clearly believes Taylor is worth every cent of his highly lucrative (for the MAC) contract.
“At the start of this process, we were searching for someone with relentless energy and the capacity to lift everyone around them to greater aspirational heights,” Bartholomae said as per the official release announcing Taylor’s appointment.
“We also sought someone who had demonstrated championship success throughout his life and career. Coach Taylor is quite simply one of the most impressive individuals I have had the pleasure to spend time with. He has won championships as an athlete and as a coach at all levels of our industry, including within two separate Power 5 Conferences.”
“He has recruited and mentored Heisman finalists and some of the NFL’s finest. He has coached in NFL Conference Championship games. He has coached in New Year’s Six Bowl Games and in the College Football Playoff.”
“Most importantly, Coach Taylor is an inspirational leader with high integrity and shares my passion to lead the country in the holistic development of our student-athletes. Our vision aligned within minutes of conversation, and our future is in great hands.”
Taylor honed his coaching skills under Nick Saban as a general assistant at Alabama. He quickly rose within the coaching ranks, spending time with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers before playing a pivotal role in Christian McCaffrey’s success at Stanford.
While he arrived in Kalamazoo from Louisville, he also spent time under Brian Kelly at Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish running back coach and run game coordinator from 2019-2021. That success in the ground game could prove pivotal for a Broncos team that has been at its very best when bolstered by a strong running attack.
Taylor’s Net Worth
With a five-year contract and a salary of $850,000 per year, Taylor has a net worth of $4.25 million during his time at Western Michigan. However, he has the potential to increase his salary and net worth through a variety of performance-related payments outlined in his contract.
Winning a MAC championship, a feat his predecessor failed to achieve, would earn Taylor a $50,000 bonus. In three of Tim Lester’s six seasons as head coach, the Broncos did not participate in a bowl game. Accomplishing that milestone would add another $50,000 in performance bonuses.
If Taylor leads Western Michigan to a New Year’s Six bowl game, the bonus amount increases to $125,000, while guiding the team to represent the Group of Five in the College Football Playoff would result in a $150,000 bonus for the Broncos’ head coach.
Furthermore, if Taylor’s leadership generates fan engagement and increased ticket sales, he can receive additional payments. Achieving ticket sales ranging from 18,000 to 20,000 would earn him $3,000, and surpassing 25,000 ticket sales would boost his net worth by $10,000.
Taylor’s contract also includes bonuses for winning eight games or more (the Broncos won eight games under Lester in 2021) and achieving specific academic goals.
In addition to financial incentives, Taylor enjoys several non-fiscal perks such as a company car, travel expenses for away games for him and his family, and a membership to a country club.
The 2023 college football season kicks off for Taylor’s Broncos on August 31 with a home game against Saint Francis University in Kalamazoo. Their MAC campaign begins with a matchup against the Toledo Rockets in the Glass Bowl, featuring the two highest-paid coaches in the conference.