For college basketball coaches, each advancement in the NCAA national championship tournament means more national exposure for him, his players and his university. It also means tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses, paid on top of six- or seven-digit salaries.
Head basketball coaches, along with head football coaches, are usually the highest paid employees of a college or university. The terms of their employment are spelled out in great detail in complicated contracts that can span dozens of pages. As the Sweet Sixteen began to be whittled down to the Elite Eight on Thursday night, several coaches cashed in:
When the University of Louisville beat Michigan State University, Coach Rick Pitino earned another $50,000 bonus on top of his salary of more than $3 million. Ohio State University Coach Thad Matta, who earns more than $1.6 million a year, got a $20,000 bonus when his team beat the University of Cincinnati.
The University of Florida, which beat Marquette University, will pay Coach Billy Donovan $37,500 for making it to the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight, on top of his regular pay of more than $720,000. At Syracuse University, Coach Jim Boeheim’s contract is not a public record so it’s unknown if he will earn a bonus for his team’s win over the University of Wisconsin. According to the university’s latest tax filings, Boeheim was paid more than $1.5 million between July 2009 and June 2010.
Multi-million dollar salaries are common for coaches who regularly show up at the Big Dance, and a USA Today analysis found that the average pay for basketball coaches at major programs in 2011 was $1.47 million. For all Division I head basketball coaches, the median compensation was $207,000 during the 2010 fiscal year, according to the NCAA. Salaries tend to be higher at private universities than public ones.
That income is often cobbled together from a number of sources: a base salary, retention incentives, branded summer camps, bonuses for team performance on the court and in the classroom, and compensation for doing broadcast work, endorsements or public relations. Most contracts also include perks like travel on private jets, country club memberships, high-end cars or clothing allowances
What does that pay amount to for this year’s Sweet Sixteen coaches?
The Washington Post requested copies of head coach contracts from all 16 schools. Twelve of the schools are public institutions, which in most cases means those contracts are public records, and all 12 complied with the request. The four private universities — Syracuse, Xavier, Baylor and Marquette universities — did not release their contracts but they provided their most recent tax filings, which list the salaries of their highest paid employees, including their coaches.
Here are some financial details about the eight coaches whose teams will be taking the court on Friday night:
Baylor University vs. Xavier University
University of North Carolina vs. University of Ohio
UNC Coach Roy Williams earns more than $1.7 million a year, which includes a base salary of $333,938, a $30,000 allowance and $1.35 million in “supplemental pay,” according to his latest contract that was signed in October 2011.
In years that his team is invited to the Big Dance, Williams earns an extra month of pay. The same is true for a Elite Eight and/or Final Four appearances. I see no mention in his contract of a bonus for winning the championship.
Ohio Coach John Groce earns $300,000 a year for coaching, making appearances in public, on the radio and on tv. (He also gets his cell phone bill paid by the university, as long as it’s not more than $150.)
Groce’s contract, which was updated in April 2010, includes a number of opportunities for bonuses, including $10,000 for making it to the NCAA tournament and $10,000 for each game his team wins during the tournament. He gets a $20,000 bonus for having made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and will earn another $40,000 if his team makes it to the Final Four.
Groce’s bonus for winning the championship: $60,000.
University of Kentucky vs. Indiana University
Kentucky Coach John Calipari makes at least $3.8 million a year, which includes a base salary of $400,000 and $3.4 million in broadcasting and endorsement compensation. Calipari is set to receive a $1 million retention incentive in July, according to his contract that was amended in June 2011.
Making it to the Sweet Sixteen earned Calipari a $100,000 bonus, on top of two $50,000 bonuses from earlier in the season. If the Wildcats make it to the Elite Eight, Calipari will make another $100,000. Final Four: $150,000.
Calipari’s bonus for winning the championship: $350,000.
At Indiana, Coach Tom Crean earns more than $2.2 million a year, which includes a base salary of $600,000 and $1.6 million for appearances and marketing, according to a contract signed in August 2008. He can earn up to $175,000 in bonuses for regular season wins, and $25,000 for making it to the tournament. His team’s first win there calls for a $25,000 bonus, Sweet Sixteen is $35,000, Elite Eight is $50,000 and Final Four is $125,000.
Crean’s bonus for winning the championship: $250,000.
University of Kansas vs. North Carolina State University
Kansas Coach Bill Self earns more than $2.5 million a year, which includes a base salary of $229,900 and nearly $2.3 million for “educational, public relations, and promotional duties,” according to his contract that was signed in April 2008. If he remains coach through next March, Self is set to receive $2 million.
Self can earn five-digit bonuses for regular season championships or winning a coach of the year award. If the Jayhawks make it to the Final Four, Self can earn a $100,000 bonus.
Self’s bonus for winning the championship: $200,000.
North Carolina State Coach Mark Gottfried is paid $1.2 million per year, according to a contract signed on April 2011. Gottfried can received up to eight separate bonuses for academic achievements of his team (other coaching contracts typically only have one or two such opportunities) as long as those bonuses don’t total more than $250,000.
He can also earn bonuses of up to $750,000 for on-the-court performances. Gottfried is set to earn an extra month’s salary for his team’s Sweet Sixteen appearance. Elite Eight or Final Four appearances each carry a one-month-pay bonus, while the championship game would be two-months pay.
Gottfried’s bonus for winning the championship: Three months pay, which I’m guessing is around $300,000.
For on-the-court March Madness coverage this month, check out the Post’s sports section. For off-the-court coverage, keep reading Campus Overload or follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And check out these articles: