Coach K's pay: $4M

Krzyzewski's salary climbs

Staff WriterJune 9, 2010 

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's pay nearly tripled over four recent seasons - rising from about $1.3 million to more than $4 million, new records show.

And that was before Duke won this year's national title.

With total compensation topping $4.19 million, the pay appears to make him the top-paid college basketball coach in the nation for the 2008-09 fiscal year and clearly puts him among the highest-paid of all college officials, according to various surveys and analyses, studies and reviews, of pay in higher education and athletics.

A handful of football coaches in the nation's elite power conferences have made more than $4 million, according to reviews of tax filings by USA Today.

Asked about his pay at a Final Four news conference this year, Krzyzewski echoed others' comments that coaches are paid what the market will bear.

"If you're at a program for a long time, if you're at a school for a long time, you become much more than just a basketball coach at the school," Krzyzewski said, according to news reports. "You become an ambassador for the school."

John Calipari, the head coach at Kentucky, is due $4 million a year over an eight-year contract, not including incentives. Florida's Billy Donovan is averaging about $3.5 million. These payouts do not include outside sources of income, such as shoe and radio or TV show deals.

Duke, a private, non-profit university in Durham, doesn't comment on salaries. But it must report the compensation of its top-paid officials to the IRS.

The most recent tax filing, dated last month and provided to The News & Observer this week, covers the fiscal year that started July 1, 2008, and ended June 30, 2009. That's the season before Duke's title win over Butler.

In that 2008-09 fiscal year, the university reported that it paid Krzyzewski $3.76 million in taxable income. That was made up of $1.96 million in base pay and $1.75 million in bonuses or incentives in 2008-09, according to the new tax filing. Because Duke doesn't release to the public its coach contracts, it is not clear what incentives were met. Typically, coaches are paid extra money for winning titles, advancing in the NCAA tournament, being ranked high in polls and players achieving at certain levels in the classroom.

The university also paid Krzyzewski $418,172 in deferred compensation, and he received about $14,000 in nontaxable benefits.

The deferred compensation at that level does not appear to be an annual amount, based on a review of past filings.

Recent years' tax forms had carried forward a $390,000 delayed payment that appears to have been paid out in 2008-09, according to the tax filings. Previous years' deferred compensation was in the $40,000 range, records show.

The tax filing also says Krzyzewski benefitted from charter travel that was reported as taxable income.

Bumps in pay

The pay for Krzyzewski is a significant jump from just a few years ago, and it covers a time period in which the Duke basketball teams did not advance far in postseason play.

In July 2004, Krzyzewski turned down a reported $8 million per year for five years to coach the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers. Duke officials said then they were "able to do a few things for Mike in his contract."

Krzyzewski said at the time his decision to stay at Duke wasn't all financial. "The allure of coaching in college has no price," he said.

Tax records show that Krzyzewski was paid about $1.3 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year, one in which he also assumed the head coaching job for USA Basketball.

Krzyzewski's pay bumped up to more than $2.2 million a year later, the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007.

In the previous two seasons, the Blue Devils had reached the NCAA tournament round of 16 but went no farther.

In the 2007 NCAA tournament, held in March, the Devils lost in the first round to Virginia Commonwealth and finished the season 22-11.

Coach K's salary for the fiscal year that began a few months later, on July 1, 2007, was much higher than in the previous years, records show. It shot up to $3.66 million, according to tax filings.

The Devils then lost in the second round of the tournament in the spring of 2008. He coached Team USA to the gold medal in the Olympics that summer.

For the following fiscal year, for which the most recent filing has now become available, Krzyzewski's salary and bonus money was in the same range as the previous fiscal year - a total of $3.76 million, not including the deferred compensation, according to the tax filings. The deferred compensation is what put him over the $4.1 million mark.

In contrast, UNC's Roy Williams was paid about $1.6 million in 2009, according to his contract. NCSU's Sidney Lowe is paid $500,000 a year, according to his contract.

Asked if this year's national title victory would translate into even more money for Krzyzewski, a university spokesman declined to say.

"We don't comment on compensation," said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

Upgrading football

The new tax filing also shows Duke is paying much more to its football coach in an attempt to jump-start its lagging football program.

Former coach Ted Roof, who was fired in late 2007 after four-plus seasons of losing football, was paid $500,000 a year, according to tax filings,

New coach David Cutcliffe, who was hired in December 2007, is paid three times as much as Roof.

The latest tax filing by the university lists $1.54 million of taxable income for Cutcliffe, a former assistant at Tennessee and a former head coach at Mississippi.

Duke officials had said at the time of Cutcliffe's hiring that they were ready to pay big-time salaries in order to upgrade.

A fraction of Cutcliffe's pay - about $300,000 - was in bonus or incentive compensation, according to the tax filing.

Cutcliffe received about $28,000 in deferred compensation and $16,000 in other benefits.

In all, Duke is paying its football coach more than N.C. State.

N.C. State's coach, Tom O'Brien, has a contract worth about $1.1 million a year, though incentives could give him another $700,000 a season.

The football coach at UNC, Butch Davis, was paid about $1.7 million over the past year, under his contract.

The latest filing shows that new Duke athletics director Kevin White was paid more than $400,000 in fiscal 2008-09. White's base salary, according to the tax filing, was $410,742. The form lists another $1.1 million as compensation, but Duke officials said that was listed that way under IRS rules. It actually was money paid to buy out White's contract at Notre Dame. White left Notre Dame for Duke in mid-2008.

"The $1.1 million ... was his buyout to Notre Dame," Schoenfeld wrote in an email message. "The money was not paid to him, it was paid to Notre Dame, but IRS rules require that it be shown as compensation because it was paid on his behalf."

To compare, UNC's Dick Baddour is paid $295,000 and can receive another $150,000 in bonuses.

N.C. State has paid its departing athletics director, Lee Fowler, $280,000 a year. or 919-829-4840

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