People have increasingly made life easier for researchers by utilizing the internet. This morning, North Carolina State's Craig Newmark linked to two sites that will be useful to sports economists in their research. This site has links to public employee salary databases and this site has links to public university salary databases.
The sports angle is that since coaches and athletic department administrators at public universities are government employees, many of their salaries are made public. The links have a wealth of data on head coaches, AD's, and assistant coaches. Moreover, not only are the big schools covered, but so are the smaller ones.
Here is Missouri AD Mike Alden's information. Here is the information for Missouri linebacker coach Barry Odom, whose listed salary, surprisingly, was not that far below Alden's.
I am at a Division II school, and I was able to easily look up the salary of the head football coach, Todd Hoffner, at this site.