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WKU's new head coach Tyson Helton (left) shares a smile with WKU athletic director Todd Stewart (right) during Helton's first press conference as the new head coach of the Hilltoppers at the Harbaugh Club in Houchens-Smith Stadium Nov. 27 in Bowling Green. "It's not about making championships," Helton said. "Its about making champions." Helton comes to WKU after working for Tennessee and Southern California.

Head coach Tyson Helton, currently in his first season leading the WKU football team, is the seventh-highest paid coach in Conference USA and the 92nd-highest paid coach in the country, according to a list of college football head coach salaries published Tuesday by USA Today.

The list of salaries includes information for 122 of the 130 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches. The list excludes only “amounts from schools that are private; did not release the information; or amounts that cannot otherwise be determined,” according to the methodology.

Helton’s base pay for the 2019 season is $800,000. He has a maximum bonus of $400,000, and the school buyout for the first-year head coach is $1.2 million as of Dec. 1, 2019.

The amount WKU is paying its head football coach trails the other two FBS schools in the Commonwealth by a sizable margin. Kentucky currently has the 19th-highest paid coach in the country, while Louisville has the 41st-highest paid coach in the nation.

Mark Stoops is making $4.76 million in total pay with a maximum bonus of $2.75 million as head coach at Kentucky this season, while first-year Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield is making $3.25 million in total pay with a maximum bonus of $975,000.

Two former WKU head coaches are listed in the top 15 head coaches nationally by total compensation for the 2019 college football season — Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm and Florida State head coach Willie Taggart are listed at No. 8 and No. 15, respectively.

Brohm is eighth among FBS coaches with $6.6 million in total pay for his current contract year.

The figure includes a “$1.7 million one-time contract signing bonus … a $300,000 retention payment for remaining coach through Jan. 1, 2019 … [and a] $400,000 retention payment Brohm will receive only if he remains head coach through Dec. 31, 2019.”

Brohm made $808,720 in total pay during his final season as WKU head coach in 2016, with a maximum bonus of $450,000.

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart is 15th among FBS coaches with $5 million in total pay for his current contract year. The amount is based on a letter of agreement dated Dec. 5, 2017, not a full employment contract, according to a dialogue box with additional information.

Taggart made $479,800 in total pay during his final season as WKU head coach in 2012, with a maximum bonus of $168,750.

Purdue is 2-5 and FSU is 3-4 in 2019, but Brohm’s buyout carries a $27.65 million price tag and Taggart’s buyout would cost the Seminoles $17.7 million as of Dec. 1, 2019.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at clinton.kizer287@topper.wku.edu. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.

Drake Kizer is the sports editor of the College Heights Herald. He previously covered spring football, the women's basketball team and worked on the features staff.