USC's Pete Carroll: Heart of a Champion on the Field, Heart of Gold off

John McCloryAnalyst IFebruary 24, 2009

Those who toss and turn at night, worrying about whether or not USC football coach Pete Carroll is making ends meet can fret no longer.

According to recent reports, Carroll is the highest-paid private university employee in the country, raking in about $4.4 million a year. The number came from the 2006-2007 fiscal year, and was initially reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education. reporter Michael David Smith claims that $4.4 million is actually lower than some estimates he has seen, and that additional compensation and endorsements might not have been included.

The dilemma regarding the coin Carroll is pulling in is that college presidents' salaries are dwarfed in comparison. Come to think of it, a majority of salaries in any line of work are far more modest.

With the current economic climate wreaking havoc, Carroll's earnings are probably a hard realization for anyone to wrap their mind around. Even catching a glimpse of the seven figures probably leads to a lot of head-shaking and scoffing. He's just a college football coach, right?

Let's consider what Carroll does for USC before casting final judgment on the guy.

First off, the talent and winning habits that Carroll provides fills seats and makes the university the center of attention in the L.A. and national sports markets. Oh, and the fact that USC is routinely in the hunt for a national championship seems to help the appeal, too. There is money to be made for the good of the university when you consider this.

Secondly, been on Carroll's official website lately? The man isn't shy in the community and seems to be on a mission of giving back. The site details his latest venture, A Better L.A., described as "a non-profit organization committed to transforming the city of Los Angeles." Certainly Carroll is known for his mind-molding on the USC campus, but is far more invaluable for his work in the at-risk neighborhoods around the campus.

That said, it's nearly impossible to quantify just how much Carroll puts out, as opposed to takes in. A number doesn't exist to measure the impact the coach has on and off campus.

When you look at Carroll's resume in its entirety, suddenly his earnings don't look so inflated—but, yeah, it's still a decent chunk of change.

John is the L.A. Sports examiner for His archive can be found here.