In the United States, college sports have garnered an extremely large following. College basketball (although not as big as college football) has become increasingly commercialized over the years, a fact that is reflected in both the amount of revenue generated from big games, and the money being invested into teams. It’s a game that is followed by millions and has teams that cover just about all parts of the USA.
Different people watch college sports for different reasons. NBA fans often watch college b-ball to see which players are likely to hit it big in the NBA Draft. Others watch to cheer on their favourite teams, hoping to knock off rivals or to win tournaments.
The March Madness tournament clearly takes the cake when it comes to the popularity college basketball. CBS and Turner reached a 14-year deal with the NCAA to broadcast the tourney each year worth a whopping $10.8 billion.
Fans also flock to watch these games live, as they are often very fast-paced and full of action. Championship games are routinely sold out, even when held in massive stadiums that normally don’t house basketball games but can fit up to 50,000 people.
As far as the game is concerned, as much as key players have a crucial role, much emphasis is placed on the head coach as the definitive leader and driving force behind the team. As a result, some of these men get paid astronomically high salaries (albeit under extreme pressure to perform and bring home the gold for their respective universities).
Many of the top-earning college basketball coaches as of the 2013-14 season are making crazy money for bringing their teams into the Big Dance and trying to win it all. Some coaches earn more due to their high level of experience while others are fortunate to be working at schools that traditionally have very strong basketball presences. Whatever the case may be, these are the 10 highest-paid college basketball coaches of 2013-14.
10. Bo Ryan – Wisconsin – $2.3 million
Since 2001, Bo Ryan has coached the University of Wisconsin Badgers and has consistently brought them to the NCAA tournament. Every time he does so he earns a $50,000 bonus; something he hasn’t failed to do since he began his coaching tenure at U of W. Ryan would make $50,000 more for reaching the Final Four as well as an additional $150,000 for winning the tournament, but he has yet to accomplish either of those feats. He has a .761 career winning percentage, second only to Roy Williams among coaches with over 500 wins.
9. Sean Miller – Arizona – $2.5 million
Sean Miller had moderate success with Xavier before joining the University of Arizona in 2009. His recruiting skills have been a key reason why the school is paying him $2.5 million per year. Miller assembled the top recruiting class for Arizona in 2012 according to ESPNU, taking over a spot that Kentucky had held for two straight years. Miller is currently signed with Arizona through 2018.
8. Tom Crean – Indiana – $3.1 million
After coaching for a decade a Marquette, Tom Crean has been at the University of Indiana since 2008. Crean received a salary of $600,000 upon signing with the school, along with two personal vehicles. In addition, the university also shelled out $650,000 of his buyout from Marquette. Crean will make and extra $25,000 if the Hoosiers reach the NCAA tournament and $250,000 if the team wins it all.
7. Thad Matta – Ohio State – $3.2 million
Thad Matta received a 10% pay increase in his contract with The Ohio State University in the early part of 2013. He now makes $3.2 million per year coaching for the Buckeyes. Matta has five Big Ten championships and has reached the Final Four twice but his salary is not without a critical string attached. Matta must report all players who may possibly be violating NCAA rules. This works as a safeguard after what happened to the school’s football program during the “tattoogate” scandal that saw head coach Jim Tressel suspended for two games and fined $250,000 in 2011.
6. Tom Izzo – Michigan State – $3.5 million
Tom Izzo received a $500,000 annual raise for his contract in 2010. This brings him to a total of $3.5 million per year with Michigan State University. Izzo has six Big Ten titles and one national championship to his name. His $3.5 million salary includes access to a private plane that he can use for up to 25 hours a year. These perks all come as thanks to Izzo for deciding to stick with the college game and turn down a coaching offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010.
5. Billy Donovan – Florida – $3.7 million
Billy Donovan is signed with the University of Florida through 2016. He now makes $3.7 million per year with Florida but was paid much less before he won two straight NCAA titles with the Gators in 2006 and 2007. Donovan had a $1.7 million salary with the Gators back in 2006. With such a substantial raise under his belt, Donovan chose his current salary over the NBA. He had planned to coach the Orlando Magic in 2007 but he changed his mind only five days after signing the five-year deal with Orlando reportedly worth $27.5 million.
4. Bill Self – Kansas – $4.9 million
In 2012, Bill Self signed a $52 million deal with the University of Kansas that would last until 2022. His $4.9 million salary includes bonuses for all sorts of functions including $50,000 for a Big XII regular season title, $150,000 for reaching the Final Four and $200,000 for a national title. Self once led the Jayhawks to nine straight regular season Big XII titles, earning him the status to go along with his monstrous contract.
3. Rick Pitino – Louisville – $4.9 million
Rick Pitino has been on both sides of Kentucky’s basketball spectrum as he’s won titles with both Kentucky and Louisville. Pitino is the second-highest-paid public employee in the state of Kentucky (right behind the next man on this list). Pitino’s contract will grant him a bonus of up to $250,000 if his athletes reach certain academic standards off the court. According to a report from January, 2013, Louisville basketball generated almost twice as much revenue as the school’s football program and operated at over five times the surplus.
2. John Calipari – Kentucky – $5 million
As Kentucky’s highest-paid public employee, John Calipari has been able to avoid the controversies surrounding NCAA violations that plagued him at Massachusetts and Memphis. Calipari has two Final Four appearances with the Wildcats and is making $5 million per year for his work. He can expect a $50,000 bonus if his team goes beyond the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate average score and could even make up to $800,000 in bonuses for his work on the court.
1. Mike Krzyzewski – Duke – $7.2 million
As the program’s head coach since 1980, Mike Krzyzewski has been the face of Blue Devils basketball through four NCAA titles and has coached the USA men’s basketball team to two Olympic gold medals. His contract with Duke University features a number of benefits including $1.4 million of his $7.2 million salary going towards his retirement fund. He also receives an average of around $3.5 million a year for having his team reach certain academic and athletic requirements.
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