College basketball coaches work in everything from small gyms that seat fewer than 1,000 fans to multimillion-dollar arenas full of tens of thousands of rabid fans. Similarly, the salaries of college basketball coaches vary greatly depending on the level of the basketball program. High-profile coaches can earn millions of dollars a year, while coaches at smaller basketball programs make comfortable, but relatively modest, salaries in comparison.
College basketball coaches earned an average annual salary in 2010 of $1.6 million, according to an April 2010 USA Today study. Salaries range from about $75,000 for the basketball coach at Binghamton University to more than $4 million a year for Duke University's head coach. The USA Today study showed that about 30 Division I men's basketball coaches make more than $1 million a year, with many earning well over that. Salaries for other coaches range from $900,000 down to $75,000.
Factors That Affect Salary
Higher-profile programs bring in more money for the school, which results in bigger salaries for basketball coaches. Coaches in major conferences like the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East and Southeastern Conference make more money than their mid-major counterparts. This can be partly attributed to the revenue that these conferences make through television contracts. Money from TV contracts goes to the athletic programs in the conference, and schools often use this money to attract a big-name coach.
College basketball coaches often have many incentives built into their contracts, which can significantly increase their annual salaries. Since college basketball is all about winning, coaches who win--especially during postseason play--can reap the financial rewards of a successful season. For example, many coaches receive bonuses for winning their conference regular season title or conference tournament. They can also bring in bonuses for making the NCAA tournament and advancing in it. Coaches at the University of Kansas, University of Memphis and University of Wisconsin can earn up to $300,000 in bonuses for success in the NCAA tournament.
Big-name basketball coaches can add to their salaries by signing endorsement deals with athletic apparel companies or hosting their own summer camps for youth. In some cases, this non-guaranteed income can exceed $1 million, as it did in 2010 for the University of Louisville's coach Rick Pitino. However, these extras are often an option only for coaches at big-name schools with a large fan base.