Being a successful head coach in college basketball often means a job for life, and in order to keep you away from glancing sideways, you’re going to get paid very well, which has been the case for the likes of Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Bill Self for Kansas, Tom Izzo at Michigan State and John Calipari at Kentucky, some of the more prominent names in the list of the top 10 highest paid men’s college basketball head coaches.
Sometimes the figures for some of these coaches (like Coach K in the past) can be a bit skewed. He was previously reported, due to one of Duke’s tax returns, to be making $9.7 million a season. However, those figures take into account bonuses, various forms of deferred compensation and the value of all benefits.
Update – We added Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall into the list, which bumps JT3 from the top 10. Because he and the Hoyas have been doing so poorly lately, we don’t want to erase what we wrote about him already, so we’ll keep him on with the measly $2.8 million he makes this season.
John Thompson III, Georgetown – $2,838,271
The 49-year old Thompson is the son of John Thompson Jr. who coached the Hoyas from 1972 to 1999. JT3 played college basketball for Princeton, was an assistant there for a few years and then the head coach from 2000 to 2004, taking them to a couple of NCAA tournaments and winning two Ivy League titles. In 2004 he became the head coach of the Hoyas. Georgetown has made the NCAA tournament 8 times with Thompson, and once (2007) to the Final Four. He has also won three regular season Big East (old Big East) championships and one conference tournament, with a 119-68 conference record.
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State – $3,000,000
Marshall received a $23 million for 7 years extension which is incredible considering he’s coaching at f***ing Wichita State. But I guess they think he’s worth every penny, considering he’d be snatched up by most programs around the country. The 52-year old worked at Winthrop before taking on the Shockers job in 2007, missing out on the NCAA Tournament his first four years on the job, but in the last four has made it four times, going to the Sweet Sixteen twice and the Final Four once. The Shockers have won the conference regular season title three times in the last four years, while going 63-9 in MVC play. His contract details for those who want ’em.
Tom Crean, Indiana – $3,046,250
The 49-year old Crean coached Marquette from 1999 to 2008 before taking on the difficult rebuilding job at Indiana. He’s been to the NCAA Tournament three times with the Hoosiers, with the Sweet Sixteen their best achievement (twice). Indiana have one regular season title in the Big Ten with Crean and a 49-77 record in conference play, mostly due to his rough start during the first three seasons, compiling a 8-47 record. Crean also has a max bonus clause of $740,000.
Bob Huggins, West Virginia – $3,265,000
The 62-year old Huggins has been a head coach since 1980, working at Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati and Kansas State before taking the Mountaineers job. At Cincinnati, he won a conference title or two almost every year, got to the Final Four once and two more Elite Eights. In Morgantown, working for his Alma Mater since 2007, he made the Final Four once and the Sweet Sixteen two more times, while posting an 80-64 conference record in the Big East and then the Big 12. In 2010, West Virginia won the Big East tournament, his only conference title with them. Huggins has a max bonus of $690,000.
Thad Matta, Ohio State – $3,372,000
The 48-year old Matta coached Xavier and Butler before taking the Buckeyes job, which he has been doing quite well at since 2004, owning the record for wins with Ohio State, and never posting less than 20 wins in a season. He has taken Ohio State to the tournament in all but one of the seasons they were eligible in, including the Final Four in 2007 and 2012, while adding an NIT title in 2008. The Buckeyes have five regular season titles with Matta and four conference tournament titles. Matta has a $410,000 max bonus, and also a 132-60 record in the Big Ten.
Sean Miller, Arizona – $3,484,500
Miller was the Xavier head coach for five seasons (including one Elite Eight and one Sweet Sixteen) before taking the Arizona job, in which he’s done quite well, taking the Wildcats to the tournament in four out of six seasons, including three Elite Eight appearances (yet no Final Four for now). Arizona have won three regular season championships with him in the Pac-12 and one conference tournament, while going 79-29 in conference play. Miller has a $1,260,000 max bonus.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State – $4,006,955
The 60-year old Izzo is the longest tenured head coach in the Big Ten (since 1995 with the Spartans), and is the coach with the most wins in school history. The Spartans have made each NCAA tournament since 1998, winning it all in 2000 and making the championship game in 2009. Besides that, the Spartans have five more Final Four appearances in the Izzo era. They’ve won the Big Ten regular season title 7 times and the Big Ten tournament four times, while Izzo compiled a 233-107 record in the Big Ten. He has a $350,000 max bonus.
Bill Self, Kansas – $4,955,186
Self played his college ball at Oklahoma State and worked as a head coach at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois before getting the Jayhawks job in 2003, replacing Roy Williams. Kansas have never missed the NCAA Tournament under Self, winning it all in 2008 and making the championship game in 2012. They’ve won the regular season title in the Big 12 a whopping 11 times (2005-2015) in a row, while the conference tournament “only” six times. Kansas have won 82% of their Big 12 games since Self took the job. He has a max bonus of $525,000.
Rick Pitino, Louisville – $6,004,529
Pitino is the only men’s head coach with Final Four appearances on three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville) and national titles with two different schools (Kentucky, Louisville). He worked at Hawai’i, Boston University, Providence, Kentucky and a bit in the NBA before taking the Louisville job in 2001, moving through a number of conferences. The Cardinals have three Final Four appearances under Pitino and one championship (in 2013). They’ve made the tournament in all but two of his seasons in Louisville, posting a 164-76 conference record through the years, winning three regular season titles and six conference tournaments before moving to the ACC. He has a $775,000 max bonus.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke – $6,043,979
From 1975 to 1980 Krzyzewski coached Army, but then took on the Duke job, and the rest is history. Duke have won five national titles (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) with Coach K and have made the Final Four 12 times, making the NCAA Tournament every year since 1984 except for one time. Duke have 12 ACC regular season titles and 13 conference tournament championships under Krzyzewski, who has more wins in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history than anyone else. Their conference record 378-152 during his era.
John Calipari, Kentucky – $6,356,756
It takes a lot of money keeping Calipari away from the NBA, where every once in awhile some team tries to convince him to come back (he coached the Nets for a bit in the 90’s). His most recent contract extension with the Wildcats will eventually pay him $8 million a season (not including bonuses). He’s been with Kentucky since 2009, making four Final Fours, two national championship games and winning one, his first, after getting close with Memphis and UMass. Kentucky have three regular season titles in the SEC with Calipari and three SEC tournament titles, including two seasons of not losing a single conference game, overall posting a 82-20 record in the SEC.