Final Four: Head coaches break the bank with performance bonuses
The Kentucky Wildcats are the nation’s preeminent “basketball factory,” thanks to the team’s perennial on-court success and a track record of sending players to the NBA; four Wildcats were drafted last year, two of whom went in the first ten picks. The factory’s CEO is head coach John Calipari, and his contract bonuses rival those of executives across the country.
Calipari has already earned $325,000 in performance bonuses from the Wildcats’ success this year. $100,000 of that incentive payout is for making the Sweet Sixteen, and $175,000 is from qualifying for the Final Four. The bonus compensation is in addition to Calipari’s $3.8 million base salary this year, thanks to a contract that makes him the highest-paid coach in college basketball.
|In Pictures: The highest-paid college basketball coaches|
Kentucky joins Louisville, Kansas and Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four and the head coaches of the other three teams have also reaped the benefits of deep tournament runs. The four coaches have already collected a total $800,000 in performance bonuses, $630,000 of which is from tournament play.
Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Kansas’ Bill Self have earned a combined $275,000 from tournament-related bonuses. Ohio State’s Thad Matta has taken home a relatively meager $80,000 in bonuses from the Buckeyes’ tournament run, but the team’s success also triggered a clause that automatically adds an additional year to Matta’s contract term. USA Today estimates that the additional year will be worth just less than $2.5 million.
And there is plenty money still waiting to be won. Each coach stands to earn a bonus for a championship victory, and those payouts range from Matta’s $100,000 bonus up to the $375,000 that Calipari will take home from a title win. Two of the coaches can also earn a small bonus from winning the Associated Press Coach of the Year award: Matta ($20,000) and Self ($50,000). It wouldn’t be the first time for Self, who won the award in 2009.
Few coaches in the country stand to gain as much from tournament success as the four still in it, and that earning potential is strongly related the teams’ long-term success, both financially and on the court. All four rank among the six most valuable programs in college basketball (Duke and North Carolina are the odd teams out), and they generated a combined profit of $71.5 million last year. It’s strong evidence that pay and play are inextricably linked at the college level, and the bonuses offered to head coaches are even further proof of money’s influence on team success.
The semi-final round will feature four head coaches who are vying for the chance to not only add an NCAA title to the resume, but to take home an even bigger bonus check. What amounts to 40 minutes of entertainment for fans is payday for the head coaches, which, at the very least, might help explain all the screaming they do.
The highest-paid coaches:
1. John Calipari, Kentucky ($4 million)
2t. Tom Izzo, Michigan State ($3.5 million)
2t. Billy Donovan, Florida ($3.5 million)
4. Bill Self, Kansas ($3 million)
5. Rick Pitino, Louisville ($2.5 million)
• See more coaches
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Jets QB Tim Tebow trails only Oprah, two others, as most marketable
• Female beach volleyball players finally get choice in Olympic wardrobe options
• Shine: Check out best, worst buys in dollar stores