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Which College Basketball Coaches Are Earning Their Salary?

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Ah, the big dance. March Madness. That wonderful time of year when some of America’s finest amateur athletes gather for an epic 64-team, single-elimination tournament to decide it all. The athletes, specifically, are the only amateurs, though. The coaches are very much not amateurs. Oftentimes, several million dollars a year worth of not-amateur. While college basketball’s most fanatic fans might feel like any amount of money is worth a ticket to the Final Four every few years, the fact remains that most of the schools involved are public universities. With taxpayer dollars involved, it’s worth asking the question of whether or not the men pacing the boards in suits are really worth all that money they’re getting paid.

That’s why GOBankingRates laid out the numbers to see which college basketball coaches really earned their salary over the course of last season. The study took the salaries of every coach from the Power Five conferences and then compared those salaries to the number of wins they actually put up to determine what they were paid for each win.

After calculating this “cost per win” for both the entire 2018-2019 regular season and the conference schedule, both metrics were scored along with how well the team performed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Combining those three scores, the study came up with a final ranking of how each coach performed from the perspective of their pay.

So, is John Calipari really worth the $9 million-plus he’s getting from the University of Kentucky? Or are there other, cheaper options that might ultimately be a much better value? Take a look to see which coaches are really worth their large contracts and which might be better served getting the same amount as their players.

Last updated: Feb. 28, 2020

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Tom Crean

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Georgia
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,200,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 11
    • Cost per win: $290,909
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 2
    • Cost per conference win: $1,600,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Bob Huggins

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: West Virginia University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,865,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 15
    • Cost per win: $257,667
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 4
    • Cost per conference win: $966,250
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Mike Brey

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: University of Notre Dame
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,420,838
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $172,917
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 3
    • Cost per conference win: $806,946
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Holly Hart/AP / Shutterstock.com

Brad Underwood

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,850,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 12
    • Cost per win: $237,500
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 7
    • Cost per conference win: $407,143
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Michael Woods/AP / Shutterstock.com

Cuonzo Martin

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Missouri
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,800,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 15
    • Cost per win: $186,667
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 5
    • Cost per conference win: $560,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Alex Goodlett/AP / Shutterstock.com

Larry Krystkowiak

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: University of Utah
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,572,500
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 17
    • Cost per win: $210,147
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 11
    • Cost per conference win: $324,773
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Wilfredo Lee/AP / Shutterstock.com

Danny Manning

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Wake Forest University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,830,360
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 11
    • Cost per win: $166,396
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 4
    • Cost per conference win: $457,590
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Michael Conroy/AP / Shutterstock.com

Archie Miller

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Indiana University Bloomington
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,250,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 19
    • Cost per win: $171,053
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 8
    • Cost per conference win: $406,250
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Sean Rayford/AP / Shutterstock.com

Frank Martin

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of South Carolina
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,950,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 16
    • Cost per win: $184,375
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 11
    • Cost per conference win: $268,182
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

John Calipari

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Kentucky
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $9,276,643
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 30
    • Cost per win: $309,221
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 15
    • Cost per conference win: $618,443
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Elite Eight

Shaka Smart

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: The University of Texas at Austin
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,200,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 21
    • Cost per win: $152,381
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 8
    • Cost per conference win: $400,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Rick Scuteri/AP / Shutterstock.com

Sean Miller

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: University of Arizona
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,700,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 17
    • Cost per win: $158,824
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 8
    • Cost per conference win: $337,500
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Keith Srakocic/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jim Larrañaga

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: The University of Miami
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,047,520
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $146,251
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 5
    • Cost per conference win: $409,504
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Chris Mack

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: University of Louisville
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $4,007,494
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $200,375
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $400,749
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Brad Brownell

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Clemson University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,753,324
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $137,666
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 9
    • Cost per conference win: $305,925
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Mike Boynton, Jr.

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Oklahoma State University-Stillwater
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,600,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 12
    • Cost per win: $133,333
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 5
    • Cost per conference win: $320,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Josh Pastner

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: The Georgia Institute of Technology
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,800,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $128,571
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 6
    • Cost per conference win: $300,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Chris Collins

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Northwestern University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,507,154
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 13
    • Cost per win: $115,935
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 4
    • Cost per conference win: $376,789
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Jamie Dixon

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Texas Christian University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,644,586
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $114,982
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 7
    • Cost per conference win: $377,798
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Kevin Keatts

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: North Carolina State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,700,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 24
    • Cost per win: $112,500
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 9
    • Cost per conference win: $300,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Charles Krupa/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jim Christian

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Boston College
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,480,826
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $105,773
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 5
    • Cost per conference win: $296,165
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

Andy Manis/AP / Shutterstock.com

Steve Pikiell

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Rutgers University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,600,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $114,286
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 7
    • Cost per conference win: $228,571
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Wayne Tinkle

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: Oregon State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,066,676
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 18
    • Cost per win: $114,815
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $206,668
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Lon Kruger

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: University of Oklahoma
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,200,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $160,000
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 7
    • Cost per conference win: $457,143
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

Gary M Baranec/AP / Shutterstock.com

Patrick Chambers

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Pennsylvania State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,250,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 14
    • Cost per win: $89,286
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 7
    • Cost per conference win: $178,571
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Mike Krzyzewski

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Duke University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $7,048,206
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 32
    • Cost per win: $220,256
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 14
    • Cost per conference win: $503,443
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Elite Eight

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Tad Boyle

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: University of Colorado Boulder
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,803,500
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $78,413
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $180,350
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Did not qualify

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Jim Boeheim

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Syracuse University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,695,375
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $134,769
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $269,538
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Chris Holtmann

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: The Ohio State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,013,750
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $150,688
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 8
    • Cost per conference win: $376,719
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

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Bill Self

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: University of Kansas
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $4,066,857
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 26
    • Cost per win: $156,418
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 12
    • Cost per conference win: $338,905
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

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Scott Drew

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Baylor University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,062,445
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $153,122
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $306,245
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

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Kermit Davis

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Mississippi
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,500,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $125,000
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $250,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Mike White

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Florida
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,612,758
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 20
    • Cost per win: $130,638
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 9
    • Cost per conference win: $290,306
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

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Bobby Hurley

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: Arizona State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,355,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $102,391
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 12
    • Cost per conference win: $196,250
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Bruce Weber

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Kansas State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,601,022
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 25
    • Cost per win: $104,041
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 14
    • Cost per conference win: $185,787
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Ben Howland

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: Mississippi State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,200,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $95,652
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $220,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

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Greg Gard

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,350,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $102,174
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 14
    • Cost per conference win: $167,857
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

Charlie Neibergall/AP / Shutterstock.com

Steve Prohm

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Iowa State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,050,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $89,130
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 9
    • Cost per conference win: $227,778
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 64

Patrick Semansky/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mark Turgeon

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: University of Maryland, College Park
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,847,232
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $123,793
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 13
    • Cost per conference win: $219,018
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

Gary M Baranec/AP / Shutterstock.com

Richard Pitino

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,188,141
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 22
    • Cost per win: $99,461
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 9
    • Cost per conference win: $243,127
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

Charlie Neibergall/AP / Shutterstock.com

Fran McCaffery

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: The University of Iowa
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,300,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 23
    • Cost per win: $100,000
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $230,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

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Roy Williams

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,928,778
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 29
    • Cost per win: $135,475
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 16
    • Cost per conference win: $245,549
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Sweet 16

Young Kwak/AP / Shutterstock.com

Dana Altman

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: University of Oregon
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,822,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 25
    • Cost per win: $112,880
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 10
    • Cost per conference win: $282,200
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Sweet 16

Mark Humphrey/AP / Shutterstock.com

Rick Barnes

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $3,250,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 31
    • Cost per win: $104,839
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 15
    • Cost per conference win: $216,667
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Sweet 16

Mark J Terrill/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mike Hopkins

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • School: University of Washington
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $1,900,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 27
    • Cost per win: $70,370
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 15
    • Cost per conference win: $126,667
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Round of 32

BILL FEIG/AP / Shutterstock.com

Will Wade

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: Louisiana State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,500,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 28
    • Cost per win: $89,286
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 16
    • Cost per conference win: $156,250
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Sweet 16

Holly Hart/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tom Izzo

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Michigan State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $4,157,562
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 32
    • Cost per win: $129,924
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 16
    • Cost per conference win: $259,848
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Final Four

Karl B DeBlaker/AP / Shutterstock.com

Leonard Hamilton

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: Florida State University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,250,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 29
    • Cost per win: $77,586
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 13
    • Cost per conference win: $173,077
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Sweet 16

John Fisher/CSM / Shutterstock.com

Matt Painter

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • School: Purdue University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,825,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 26
    • Cost per win: $108,654
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 16
    • Cost per conference win: $176,563
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Elite Eight

David J Phillip/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tony Bennett

  • Conference: ACC
  • School: University of Virginia
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $4,150,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 35
    • Cost per win: $118,571
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 16
    • Cost per conference win: $259,375
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Champion

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Bruce Pearl

  • Conference: SEC
  • School: Auburn University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,600,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 30
    • Cost per win: $86,667
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 11
    • Cost per conference win: $236,364
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Final Four

Charlie Neibergall/AP / Shutterstock.com

Chris Beard

  • Conference: Big 12
  • School: Texas Tech University
    • 2018-2019 total pay: $2,800,000
  • 2018-2019 total wins: 31
    • Cost per win: $90,323
  • 2018-2019 conference wins: 14
    • Cost per conference win: $200,000
  • NCAA Tournament achievement: Runner-up

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at all college basketball coaches from the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) and used NCAA college basketball salary data from USA Today to find each coach’s 2018-19 total pay. New coaches for the 2019-20 season were omitted from this study. All coaches with available data were analyzed across the following factors: (1) cost per win, which was calculated by taking total pay for the 2018-19 season divided by the total amount of wins for the same season as sourced from ESPN’s men’s college basketball standings; (2) cost per conference win, which was calculated by taking total pay for the 2018-19 season divided by the total amount of conference wins for the same season as sourced from ESPN’s men’s college basketball standings; and (3) each team’s NCAA Tournament achievement. These three factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best, to determine which college basketball coaches are earning their salary. All data was compiled on and up to date as of Feb. 11, 2020.