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Art Briles to reportedly join the $4 million club

Earlier today we ranked Art Briles first among our list of head coaches that will get paid soon. Not 12 hours later, it looks like he has a new contract.

Briles received contract extensions after the 2011 and 2012 seasons - the most recent pushing his salary to a reported $3.5 million - and Wednesday added three years to his existing deal, which should keep him in Waco through 2023 when Briles will be 68. 

Briles' new salary will be north of $4 million according to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, accompanied by a buyout that Carlton described as "significant". (Chip Brown reports Briles will earn a sum of $45 million with a nearly $5 million buyout.) In a perfect world, no school wants to give a coach a raise in three straight seasons, but with the ongoing uncertainty at Texas and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin listed as a top candidate at USC, it was time to strike for Baylor.

Of course, it's important to note that these are the terms Briles has agreed to but nothing is official until both sides plant a signature on the bottom line. 

By now, Briles' accomplishments in Waco are well known. The Bears, 8-0 this season and ranked fifth in the most recent BCS standings, own a 12-game winning streak, are on pace to break FBS records for points and total yardage, and possess a 26-8 record since 2011. And then there's the matter of the school's first Heisman Trophy winner in 2011. All this at a school that was 10-86 all-time in Big 12 play before his arrival.

But the $4 million club is rarified air in college football, with the likes of Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU and Michigan. Brand names with 47 national championships and 194 conference titles between them. And then there's Baylor, with nothing close to a national championship and two conference crowns in the last 40 years. Briles will join Hoke as the only coaches making at least $4 million without a national or major conference crown, and he'll be the only $4 million coach without a BCS bowl appearance. 

Of course, Baylor still has the final third of the 2013 season ahead of it, and the Bears will be the odds on favorites to win the Big 12 and appear in the Fiesta Bowl - at least. Regardless of what he has yet to accomplish, Briles is worth every bit of $4 million - to Baylor and on the open market - and he's taken the Bears to heights unseen in program history. He's got an offense that kids want to play in, a sense of confidence that inspires his entire roster and a new stadium opening in 2014.

It certainly pays to be Art Briles right now. 

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