Coach K made nearly $10 million in 2011

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
5:45
PM ET
Coach Mike Krzyzewski makes a lot of money.

That’s not surprising. Compensation for private-school coaches is not disclosed the way salaries are for coaches at public schools due to a bunch of legal stuff that I will not attempt to explain. “Private school” essentially means “we don’t have to tell you anything we don’t want to tell you.”

So although we always assume coaches at private institutions make as much, if not more, than their peers at public universities, we’re never 100 percent sure.

Tax records, however, show all and they’re public -- even for private schools. And by obtaining those documents, USA Today learned that Coach K made $9.7 million in total compensation in 2011.

[+] EnlargeMike Krzyzewski
Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY SportsAccording to USA Today, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's $9.7 million in compensation in 2011 is a record for a college coach.
That's not a typo.

That’s Lil’ Wayne money.

That’s a record, according to USA Today:
The amount is the greatest single-year compensation total for a college athletics coach since USA TODAY Sports began tracking the pay of football and men's basketball coaches in 2006. Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino received a little more than $8.9 million in total pay in 2010-11.

Krzyzewski earned more than $7.2 million in the 2010 calendar year, and just less than $4.7 million in 2009.

The new return shows that Krzyzewski received:

  • $1,978,401 in base compensation, nearly the same as in 2010.
  • $5,642,574 in bonus and incentive compensation, nearly $1.9 million more than in 2010.
  • $1,982,097 in retirement and other deferred compensation, a little over $500,000 more than in 2010.
  • $59,616 in other reportable compensation such as family travel.
  • $19,344 in non-taxable benefits.

As a private school, Duke is not required to make public its employment contracts.

Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Michael Schoenfeld, who provided the return in response to a request from USA Today Sports, said the university does not comment on individual contracts.

However, in addressing Krzyzewski's overall compensation, he said: "By any measure, Coach K is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, college coach of all-time. This takes into account his 33 years of service at Duke, his unparalleled success as a head coach -- in 2011 he became the winningest (NCAA Division I) head coach of all-time -- his commitment to the academic achievement of the student-athletes and to Duke University."

Mike Krzyzewski is arguably the greatest coach of all time. He has four national championships and more Division I wins than any coach in history. Under him, the Blue Devils have been national title contenders (or winners) in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Next season, he’ll have a national-title-contending squad led by Jabari Parker, a McDonald’s All-American and future lottery pick.

That’s an impressive legacy and true longevity.

But that’s a lot of dough, especially the portion that’s based on bonuses and incentives ($5.6 million).

“Hey, Coach K. Thanks for showing up today. Here’s another $100,000 ‘thanks for showing up bonus.’”

It’s still difficult to argue against Coach K’s compensation (nearly $2 million is deferred) if the barometer is based solely on what his peers currently receive.

But the discussion can’t end there.

I was all set to argue that Coach K deserves the cash, and suggest that there’s no reason to be upset about it. And then my man Eamonn Brennan chimed in and reminded me that Parker and his teammates won’t get a slice of that.

It’s a notable contrast.

Coach K makes nearly $10 million and the players who’ve fueled his success -- and escalating income -- get nothing beyond tuition, room and board. And that whole myth about college athletes having all of their expenses paid was challenged by a National College Players Association study, which revealed that the average athlete on a full ride paid more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to attend college during the 2010-11 school year.

So the debate will persist. It has now reached the courts with former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon leading a lawsuit against the NCAA, which involves compensation for athletes.

Coach K will continue to earn nearly $10 million per year. Probably more in the future. Parker, who will likely stay for just one year, will receive the opportunity to compete for a Division I program. That exposure will be vital in his mission to make a living in the NBA.

Without Parker, however, Coach K and his colleagues would not warrant the seven-figure salaries they currently receive.

So the idea of Coach K earning nearly $10 million and Parker & Co. potentially leaving Duke with debt is not easy to digest.

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