Highest Paid Coaches in College Basketball

Calipari's Kentucky deal raises the bar

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 01: Rick Pitino the Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to Edgar Sosa #10 during the Big East Conference game against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Freedom Hall on March 1, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

According to "U.S. News & World Report," the highest-paid college basketball coaches earn between roughly $2 million and $6 million per year. And, that doesn't include "generous perks, such as private jets and housing allowances, or severance packages. There are millions more in bonuses for coaches who take their teams to the championships." 

Here's a look at some of the top salaries in NCAA Division I men's college basketball.

This is not a straight apples-to-apples comparison -- some schools include apparel deals with sneaker companies as part of the reported compensation package, while others do not. The information was compiled by "USA Today," but even that paper's figures vary from year to year, as coach's salaries go up and down.

Top Five Salaries

"It is hard to argue with this resume," says Boyd's Bets, a sports handicapping site, of top earner Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski's curriculum vitae:

  • Five National Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015)
  • Nine NCAA Championship game appearances.
  • 12 Athletic Coast Conference regular-season championships and 13 ACC Tournament championships.
  • 12 Final Four appearances and 13 Elite Eight appearances.
  • The all-time leader in NCAA Tournament wins.
  • Two National Coach of the Year Awards.

Other coaches in the top five have also boosted their teams, year after year, to the final rounds of the "March Madness" -- the NCAA's annual Division I tournament.

Here are the top five:




Mike Krzyzewski



John Calipari



Rick Pitino               



Bill Self                 



Sean Miller            



Second Tier

Even second-tier earners take in more than $3 million annual in salary.

"The Atlantic" notes that the high salaries are a result of the fact that NCAA basketball players are not paid. So, colleges don't have to budget for salaries from the money their earn through their basketball programs, which is plenty. The NCAA, itself, notes that college basketball brought in nearly $900 million for schools during the 2011-2012 school year, the most recent year for which figures are available. With that said, here are the second five coaches in terms of compensation.




Tom Izzo

Michigan State


Bob Huggins

West Virginia


Tom Matta

Ohio State


Jamie Dixon



Tom Crean



Third Tier

Even the coaches in the 10th through 15th spots take in salaries close to $3 million annually. “It’s an artificial marketplace,” says Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College who specializes in the college sports business. “There’s not any stockholder who wants control costs. Instead, you have an athletic director who has one objective, which is to win." As long as coaches rack up victories, their salaries are likely to continue to be high.




Kevin Ollie



Gregg Marshall

Wichita State


Lon Kruger



John Thompson III



Shaka Smart