Coach K's pay: $5 million

staff writerJune 26, 2011 

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's pay has reached the $5 million-a-year level, cementing his status as one of the highest paid coaches in college sports.

New tax filings provided by Duke University to The News & Observer show that Krzyzewski's pay from the private university in Durham topped $4.95 million in 2009, the latest year covered by a required tax filing.

A review of tax records shows that Krzyzewski's pay almost quadrupled in the five years after he was courted by the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.

Krzyzewski, who is three wins away from becoming the all-time winningest Division I college basketball coach, has steadily moved up in the pay ranks of college basketball coaches. Only Louisville's Rick Pitino, who is paid a base salary of more than $6 million per year, earns more, according to publicly available records.

In football, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas coach Mack Brown are both paid more than $5 million a year, records show.

The latest pay figure from Duke does not cover Krzyzewski's pay in 2010 - a year in which Duke won its fourth national title under his coaching tenure.

While Krzyzewski's contract is not public, his compensation as the highest-paid employee at Duke is a required part of a public tax filing.

The tax filing provided is for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, but university officials said Duke reported calendar year 2009 compensation in keeping with IRS regulations. The coach's 2010 compensation will not be available until next year, Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said.

Krzyzewski, who has won 78.7 percent of his games at Duke, declined to comment. Schoenfeld said no other university leaders will comment on the pay, in keeping with longstanding practice.

Million-dollar contracts for coaches have drawn scrutiny at other programs as states and private schools trim expenses. Duke offered buyouts to university employees in 2009.

At last year's Final Four, the coach told reporters he's paid what the market bears and acknowledged his role as the university's public face to national and worldwide audiences.

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

Krzyzewski, former UNC coach Dean Smith and the late N.C. State women's coach Kay Yow will be honored with the Dr. James A. Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award this Wednesday at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. The Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award honors individuals for their displays of sportsmanship on and off the court, positive contributions to the game and a lifelong dedication to the sport.

Krzyzewski's latest pay figure is a jump from the roughly $4 million Duke paid him the year before.

The increase is the result of a bigger bonus than previous years and a payment of previously deferred compensation.

Krzyzewski's bonus was $2.2 million for 2009. That's an increase over the previous year's bonus by $472,000, or 27 percent, made in a year in which the Blue Devils lost in the NCAA tournament regional semifinal round.

He received another $675,000 in deferred pay on top of a nearly unchanged $1.9 million in base pay. The total reported pay includes his personal use of university charter aircraft.

The compensation listed in tax forms does not include outside pay from shoe contracts or other such deals, or from his duties coaching the U.S. national team. The N&O also did not include $420,000 in additional deferred compensation reported on the filing in the 2009 calculation because it was not paid to him in that year.

In 2004, Krzyzewski turned down a reported $8 million-a-year offer to coach the Lakers, saying coaching college players was alluring and "has no price."

The interest from the Lakers triggered action by Duke president Richard Brodhead days after he had assumed the university presidency.

In a radio interview broadcast last week on 99.9-FM's David Glenn Show, Krzyzewski recalled how intense that time period was, to the point that his own family was "sick" of seeing him on TV in the hour-by-hour coverage of his decision.

His Duke pay then was less than $1.4 million a year.

Duke officials said after he decided to stay that they did "a few things" for Krzyzewski in his contract.

To compare, UNC coach Roy Williams is paid about $1.6 million per year by the University of North Carolina. (That figure does not including money provided by shoe, apparel and other outside deals.)

New N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried's contract will pay him about $1.2 million per year, with the chance for more if the Wolfpack does well.

Earlier this month, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier proposed a plan to allow coaches to pay players from their salaries. Six other SEC coaches gave their support, saying they'd pay $300 per game to each team's 70 roster players. The idea would cost each coach about $250,000.

The proposal has not gained traction with college conferences or the NCAA.

"We make all the money," Spurrier told reporters this month. "We need to get more to our players. ... They bring in the money. They're the performers. We make all the money," Spurrier told reporters this month. "We need to get more to our players. ... They bring in the money. They're the performers."

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