Are Sweet 16 coaches worth their pay?

Seven of the 10 highest-paid skippers survived the first two rounds of March Madness. But three of them didn't even get an invite.

By Bruce Kennedy Mar 28, 2013 7:24AM

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with an official during an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 16, 2013 (© Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)The hype is on, now that college basketball has entered its March Madness Sweet 16 countdown. While many sports fans may be fixated on hoops this week as the NCAA men's basketball tournament is down to 16 teams, it's worth noting that, even for schools involved in the Big Dance, college basketball brings in just a fraction of the revenue that college football does.


Data from Equality in Athletics, analyzed last year by The Memphis Business Journal, found the top 15 revenue-generating college basketball programs in the country brought in a combined, estimated gross of $293 million in 2010-2011 -- compared to the more than $1 billion hauled in by the 15 top-grossing football programs in 2010.

According to the Journal, 15 schools reported revenues of $14 million or more from men's basketball last year (here's a slideshow of those programs). And as Columbus Business First notes, seven of the country's 10 highest-paid college basketball coaches are in this year's Sweet 16.

Here's the list of those seven coaches and their annual take-home pay, as compiled by Celebrity Networth:

  • Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (pictured): $4.7 million

  • Rick Pitino, Louisville: $4.8 million ($3.9 million base salary, $912,769 bonus)

  • Billy Donovan, Florida: $3.6 million

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State: $3.6 million ($3.1 million base salary, $477,800 bonus)

  • Bill Self, Kansas: $3.6 million

  • Thad Matta, Ohio State: $2.9 million

  • Buzz Williams, Marquette: $2.8 million

It's worth noting that the three other coaches on the top 10 highest-paid list also included the highest-paid coach, Kentucky's John Calipari -- and that none of these three coaches' teams qualified for this year's NCAA tournament. Here are the also-rans:

  • John Calipari, Kentucky: $5.4 million ($5 million base salary, $400,400 bonus)

  • Jim Calhoun, Connecticut: $2.7 million

  • Rick Barnes, Texas: $2.4 million

Another interesting financial/athletic factoid: Of the 15 highest revenue-generating college men's basketball programs listed by The Memphis Business Journal, only eight advanced to the Sweet 16 this year:

  • University of Louisville, 2010-11 revenue: $40.9 million, conference: Big East

  • Duke University, 2010-11 revenue: $28.9 million, conference: ACC

  • University of Arizona, 2010-11 revenue: $21.2 million, conference: Pac-12

  • Syracuse University, 2010-11 revenue: $19 million, conference: Big East

  • Indiana University, 2010-11 revenue: $17.8 million, conference: Big Ten

  • Ohio State University, 2010-11 revenue: $17 million, conference: Big Ten

  • Michigan State University, 2010-11 revenue: $16.5 million, conference: Big Ten

  • Marquette University, 2010-11 revenue: $15.6 million, conference: Big East

More on moneyNOW

Mar 28, 2013 8:50AM
Somewhere along the line we've forgotten that these are publicly supported institutions that exist to provide education.  
Mar 28, 2013 3:38PM

Their salaries are a bit high, but they sure as hell are alot more worth their pay than Congress........on both sides!!!


Mar 28, 2013 3:56PM
Agreed that any one of these is worth more than Congress - and let's not forget - John Calipari is the defending national champ, Jim Calhoun won it all in 2011 - can't say much about Barnes.  I'm glad you also posted the amount of revenue they bring in - most of these coaches are paid out of a club fund, not university funds. 
Mar 28, 2013 11:52PM
no they aren't worth it since so many teams get into the tournament and have an opportunity to win.  
Mar 29, 2013 8:49AM

Sports leads to corruption and the cost of doing business is about winning with sponsors hiding the cost. The Sandusky scandal proved that, hide a child molester because the program is more important than anything else. Players paid in ways more creative every year. Even the Olympics has fallen prey to this with professionals allowed to compete, It's all about the money.

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