College Basketball Coaches: The New CEOs

8 03 2010

Everyone is quick to bash corporate CEO’s for taking home “undeserved salaries” that don’t line up with the income they generate.   But it seems people should be in arms about college basketball coaches — not just CEOs.

John Calipari at University of Kentucky is the highest paid college basketball coach (image via usatoday)

According to Forbes, at least 25 of the 347 Division 1 college basketball coaches now earn more than $1 million annually.  And this excludes all bonuses and other potential benefits.

Of course, college basketball coaches are undoubtedly a great resource for universities.  Successful athletic programs often drive surges in applications and alumni giving, which translates to huge income increases for the school in the long run.

The market for school coaches is also extremely competitive: there are very few truly magnificent coaches who wish to remain at the college level.  These honchos must be wooed — not only to stay at the same school, but also to not stray to the NBA.

This results in salaries that can equal up to 10% of the revenues the basketball program provides.  Take Kentucky’s John Calipari, for example.  Calipari, who is the top paid college basketball coach according to Forbes, just signed an eight-year, $32 million deal for a program that generates $35 million a year.

As Tom Van Riper at Forbes points out, “the corporate equivalent for Calipari’s pay package would be Microsoft handing Steve Ballmer $6 billion a year.”

But do these college basketball coaches’ salaries accurately reflect the success of their programs?

Here are the highest paid college basketball coaches and their records. You decide:

1.  John Calipari University of Kentucky $4 million 441-139 (.762) 11 None
2.  Billy Donovan University of Florida $3.3 million 360-152 (.703) 9 2
3.  Bill Self University of Kansas $3 million 403-146 (.827) 11 1
4.  Thad Matta Ohio State University $2.5 million 250-84 (.749) 7 None
5.  Rick Pitino University of Louisville $2.25 million 568-199 (.741) 13 1
6.  Mike Krzyzewski Duke University $2.2 million 856-278 (.755) 25 3

Source: Forbes




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