Top College Basketball Head Coach Salaries: Highest-Paid Coaches

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Kansas head coach Bill Self addresses the crowd after a win over Texas in an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan.
(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Aug 18, 2022, 6:00 AM

Does college basketball coaching salaries translate to success? Are the teams who pay their coaches the most money the most successful?

Going into the NCAA tournament a year ago, Gonzaga had the best college basketball odds to win the national championship at +300. Head coach Mark Few is not among the highest-paid college basketball coaches.

During the tournament, USA Today released its annual list of college basketball head coach salaries. 

It’s no surprise that each of the top nine coaches appeared in the NCAA tournament and 14 of the top 15 as well.

Highest-Paid College Basketball Coaches

Head CoachSchoolSalary (2021-22)Buyout
Bill SelfKansas$10,184,282$5,410,000
John CalipariKentucky$8,602,306$47,718,750
Tom IzzoMichigan St.$8,341,321$7,432,454
Mike KrzyzewskiDuke$7,353,496N/A
Jay WrightVillanova$6,192,252N/A
Chris BeardTexas$5,255,000$21,000,000
Rick BarnesTennessee$5,200,000$23,137,500
Jamie DixonTCU$4,347,975N/A
Chris MackLouisville$4,257,494N/A
Bob HugginsWest Virginia$4,150,000$4,688,750
Eric MusselmanArkansas$4,000,000$11,433,333
Buzz WilliamsTexas A&M$4,000,000$12,933,333
Bruce PearlAuburn$3,825,321$8,095,833
Dana AltmanOregon$3,759,500$19,331,781
Mick CroninUCLA$3,700,000$7,900,000
Tony BennettVirginia$3,648,019$18,075,701
Jeff CapelPittsburgh$3,533,438N/A
Scott DrewBaylor$3,511,477N/A
Juwan HowardMichigan$3,500,000$5,000,000
Brad UnderwoodIllinois$3,500,000$16,816,667

Who is the Highest-Paid College Basketball Coach?

Bill Self is the highest-paid college basketball coach.

The Kansas head coach tops the list for the 2021-22 season. He took home $10,184,282, which is close to $2 million more than the second-highest-paid coach. Self has a buyout of $5.4 million.

The 59-year-old has been with the Jayhawks since 2003. In 2022, he reached a 19th straight NCAA Tournament and earned another No. 1 seed thanks to the most Quadrant 1 wins in the country. And with a second national championship, Self joined 15 other coaches with multiple titles.

Self received a huge bump in pay for 2021-22 after earning just $3.7 million in cash in 2020-21. Why the big increase? He signed an extension in April 2021 and vested $4.5 in deferred retention pay roughly a year earlier than scheduled. 

What is John Calipari’s Salary & Buyout?

John Calipari is the second-highest-paid college basketball coach.

Kentucky’s head coach has made roughly $8 million a year consistently the last few seasons and did once again in 2021-22 with a salary of $8.6 million. 

In addition to having the second-biggest salary in the country, he has the biggest buyout by far. As of April 1, 2022, it is $47.7 million. Other coaches with high buyouts are Rick Barnes (Tennessee) at $23.1 million and Chris Beard (Texas) at $21 million. 

Calipari has been with Kentucky since 2009. The Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament a year ago but are back in 2022. Under Calipari, Kentucky has reached the Final Four three times, including winning the national championship in 2012.

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

Read More @RyanHannable

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”