By Ryan Velez
The college basketball season had a number of great stories this year that many will likely be talking about up until next season begins. These include Gonzaga nearly having an undefeated regular season, Minnesota’s turnaround from winning only eight games last season to becoming a No.5 seed, and Vermont and Princeton going undefeated in their conferences. However, some major stories are also going on behind the scenes. Celebrity Net Worth reports that for the first time, two coaches made more than $7 million this season.
The two lucky coaches in question are Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Kentucky’s John Calipari, who in fact, are pulling in over $7.1 million overall. Calipari’s base salary is $7.1 million, while Pitino’s is $5.1 million. However, both are getting compensation from outside the universities as well. In Pitino’s case, what pushed him over the top was an additional $2.25 million from Adidas, which provides gear for Louisville’s teams. The arrangement is described as a “personal services contract.”
Calipari is poised to be bringing in some substantial pay for quite some time, having signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Kentucky Wildcats until March 2024. His salary will increase until he makes $8 million per year in 2019. His salary will stay at that point for the remainder of the deal, with a pay review in 2022.
One thing to note is that Calipari’s base salary is above that of the two highest-paid college football coaches, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. However, both Saban and Harbaugh are making more money overall. This is indicative of the pay situation for college football coaches and college basketball coaches in general. Football generally makes for higher pay, with 36 college coaches making at least $3 million last season, while only half that many college basketball coaches make that.
One of these lucky coaches is Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, granted, his school doesn’t have a football team. However, Marshall brought his team to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances and will make $3.5 million starting in 2018. It will be interesting to see which coaches manage to join that club in upcoming years, and how exactly the substantial money that the NCAA Tournament brings each year will be distributed as the numbers seem to get higher and higher.