SBD/March 29, 2012/Colleges

NCAA Basketball Coach Salaries At Mid Majors Struggle To Keep Up With Big Schools

The decision for VCU to increase basketball coach Shaka Smart’s salary “from about $420,000 last season to about $1.2 million” this season is “emblematic of a widening dollar gap between major-conference schools and so-called midmajors,” according to Brady, Upton & Berkowitz in a front-page piece for USA TODAY. Football TV contracts and attendance for the six BCS conferences “mean big money, while competitive ambitions at midmajors often outrun their athletics departments' ability to pay for them.” NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “It's a huge issue.” Some schools like VCU “ante up so coaches don't leave for wealthier programs,” but others, like “budget-strapped Nevada-Las Vegas, simply get outbid by them.” USA Today’s annual analysis of contracts and compensation documents shows that the NCAA tournament “is loaded with millionaires” and coaches in the event “are making a little more than $1.4 million on average this season.” Compensation information obtained by the paper “for 31 of the 34 schools appearing in the tournament both this season and last and found the average compensation for coaches at those schools increased to a little over $2.1 million from more than $1.9 million -- a jump of 8.6%.” VCU President Michael Rao said that his “decision to up the ante to keep Smart a year ago was simple, and he figures Smart's richer contract is paying off as much in marketing VCU's name on a national scale as it is in helping the Rams remain competitive on the court.” The idea of VCU paying its basketball coach “nearly the same amount as a successful Big East coach would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.” But Rao has “heard no complaints from presidents of other schools in the Colonial Athletic Association.” Emmert said that he “doesn't know how far midmajors can keep stretching.” Emmert: "If you think about it, they have always gotten by with lesser resources, by definition. … The escalation of expenditures hits some natural ceiling, but I don't know where that is" (USA TODAY, 3/29). Below is a chart of the top 15 highest-paid coaches in college basketball.

RK
SCHOOL
COACH
SCHOOL
PAY
OTHER
PAY
TOTAL
MAX
BONUS
1
Kentucky
John Calipari
$4,987,578
$400,400
$5,387,978
$850,000
2
Louisville
Rick Pitino
$3,900,000
$912,769
$4,812,769
$575,000
3
Duke
Mike Krzyzewski
$4,699,570
n/a
$4,699,570
n/a
4
Florida
Billy Donovan
$3,639,800
$0
$3,639,800
$454,000
5
Kansas
Bill Self
$3,375,657
$258,000
$3,633,657
$425,000
6
Michigan State
Tom Izzo
$3,120,900
$477,800
$3,598,700
$425,000
7
Ohio State
Thad Matta
$2,747,000
$107,000
$2,854,000
$320,000
8
Marquette
Buzz Williams
$2,834,685
n/a
$2,834,685
n/a
9
UConn
Jim Calhoun
$2,700,000
n/a
$2,700,000
$109,375
10
Texas
Rick Barnes
$2,400,000
$0
$2,400,000
$790,000
11
Purdue
Matt Painter
$2,325,000
n/a
$2,325,000
$901,874
12
Indiana
Tom Crean
$2,240,000
n/a
$2,240,000
$685,000
13
Michigan
John Beilein
$2,206,000
$19,930
$2,225,930
$200,000
14
Wisconsin
Bo Ryan
$2,075,000
$100,312
$2,175,312
$400,000
15
West Virginia
Bob Huggins
$2,000,000
$15,000
$2,015,000
$270,000
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