Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles Set to Make $1.9 Million Per Year

By Kevin Harrish on December 10, 2021 at 3:31 pm
Jim Knowles
Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoma/USA TODAY Network

The Buckeyes' new defensive coordinator will be among the highest-paid assistants in the country.

New Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is set to make $1.9 million per year as part of a three-year deal, becoming the program's highest-paid assistant by far and making him one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country.

The $1.9 million would have been the fourth-most of any assistant coach in college football this season behind only Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables ($2,500,000), Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott ($2,125,000), and Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko ($2,100,000). Venables and Elliott have now both left Clemson to become head coaches at Oklahoma and Duke, respectively, while Elko is reportedly in line to be the new head coach at Duke. 

Ohio State’s highest-paid assistant coaches for the 2021 season were then-defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who were each paid $1.4 million.

On top of his base salary, Knowles will be eligible for several incentive-based bonuses, potentially totaling as much as $726,750.

  • Big Ten East Title: 8.5% of base salary ($161,500)
  • Big Ten Championship Title: 4.25% of base salary ($80,750)
  • College Football Playoff Bowl Game Appearance: 17% of base salary ($323,000)
  • Non-College Football Playoff Bowl Game Appearance and 9 Wins: 4.25% of base salary ($80,750)
  • College Football Playoff Semifinal Appearance: 21.25% of base salary ($403,750)
  • College Football Playoff Final Appearance: 25.5% of base salary ($484,500)

Note: Knowles would only receive one of the playoff bonuses; if the team wins its semifinal game, his bonus would be 25.5%, but if it loses, his bonus would be 21.25%.

Knowles will also receive a lump-sum, one-time signing bonus of $138,850 which will be given to him within 30 days of the execution of his formal contract.

The lucrative offer – the largest ever given to an assistant coach by Ohio State – was necessary to land Knowles as Oklahoma State reportedly offered Knowles a deal worth $1.3 million per year to stay in Stillwater, while he was also being targeted by multiple other major programs including Florida and Penn State.

The full term sheet of Knowles’ contract, as obtained by Eleven Warriors through a public records request:

View 157 Comments