The Washington Post

Sweet Sixteen coaches and March Madness bonuses

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.

View Photo Gallery: NCAA tournament 2012.

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.

Baylor Bears head coach Scott Drew was paid $1.76 million last fiscal year. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Jamie Squire/GETTY IMAGES)

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.

Xavier paid head coach Chris Mack about $485,000 last fiscal year. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) (Al Behrman/AP)

Baylor University vs. Xavier University

At Baylor, Coach Scott Drew was paid $1.76 million during the fiscal year ending in May 2010. During that same time period at Xavier, Coach Chris Mack earned nearly $485,000.

University of North Carolina vs. University of Ohio

If the Tar Heels win Friday night, coach Roy Williams gets an extra month of pay. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) (Streeter Lecka/GETTY IMAGES)

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.)

Ohio covers coach John Groce’s cell phone bill — as long as it doesn’t go over $150. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

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

If John Calipari continues coaching the Kentucky Wildcats through July, he is set to earn a $1 million retention bonus. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Andy Lyons/GETTY IMAGES)

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.

Indiana Coach Tom Crean could score a $50,00 bonus Friday night. (Andy Colwell/AP)

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.

The Kansas Jayhawks will have to make it to the Final Four before bonuses kick in for coach Bill Self. (Ed Zurga — Getty Images) (Ed Zurga/GETTY IMAGES)

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.

North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried can earn up to $250,000 if his players perform well academically. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

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:

BYU ‘mathletes’ film rap video ahead of March Madness

March Madness of graduation rates: U-Conn. loses, Notre Dame wins

VCU’s Final Four foray brings record-levels of attention (April 2011)

Five myths about March Madness

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.


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