Top College Coaches Make Millions; How Many Students Could That Pay For?
The cost of going to college is fairly eye-popping. Between tuition, room, board and books, expenses pile up quickly.
For the 2021-22 school year, the average cost of a public college was $10,740 for in-state tuition and $27,560 for out-of-state, while a year of private school cost $38,070, according to collegedata.com.
That’s a lotta lattes.
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If you’re the one writing the tuition checks, then you might be irked when you see how much money college football and basketball coaches make. How can a university pay a college basketball coach a seven-figure salary, then charge students $50K?
With the men’s college basketball tournament concluding, GOBankingRates looked at the top college coaches in basketball and football to determine the number of tuitions their salaries could support.
Spoiler alert: Three Final Four coaches — Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas’ Bill Self and Villanova’s Jay Wright — are in the top 20.
20. Rick Barnes, Tennessee basketball
Salary: $5.2 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 164
The most popular degrees at the Volunteer State’s top public university include business, kinesiology, health care and psychology. Barnes has 754 wins in his 35-year head coaching career.
19. Chris Beard, Texas basketball
Salary: $5.255 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 136
The University of Texas, with more than 51,000 students, has plenty of powerhouse degrees, with programs ranked in the top 10 in the country in business, communications, geosciences, education, engineering and more.
Beard, the head coach of the Longhorns men’s basketball team, has a Master of Education from Abilene Christian University.
18. Jay Wright, Villanova
Salary: $6.192 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 102
Villanova, a private Catholic university in Pennsylvania, features majors in psychology, economics and finance.
Wright, who has coached at Villanova since 2001, won national championships in 2016 and 2018.
Also Find: How Rich Are Mike Krzyzewski and Other Top-Paid College Basketball Coaches?
17. Ryan Day, Ohio State football
Salary: $6.614 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 189
THE Ohio State University, as it is known, has strong programs in political science, architecture and interior design.
Day has a 34-4 record, taking the Buckeyes to two appearances in the College Football Playoff.
16. James Franklin, Penn State football
Salary: $7 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 192
Penn State is ranked No. 2 in business and psychology degrees, and tied for No. 2 in graduate industrial engineering.
Franklin has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
15. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan football
Salary: $7.05 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 132
The University of Michigan is one of the strongest public universities in the nation, featuring solid programs in undergraduate engineering, business and nursing.
Harbaugh comes from a family of coaches and has been at Michigan since 2015.
14. Kirby Smart, Georgia football
Salary: $7.133 million, plus $850,000 bonus
Tuitions salary could fund: 277
Fresh off the school’s first national championship since 1980, Smart could fund 29 Georgia tuitions from his bonus alone.
The university offers 129 undergrad programs, with business, management and marketing the most popular.
13. Lane Kiffin, Mississippi football
Salary: $7.25 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 281
Popular majors at Ole Miss include digital communication and media, accounting and business administration.
Kiffin is a lifelong football coach; he gave up his senior season as a player at Fresno State to become a student assistant coach.
12. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke basketball
Salary: $7.353 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 253
Krzyzewski, who is retiring, is the winningest men’s college basketball coach in history and just took Duke to its record 13th Final Four. The Army graduate funds several scholarships at Duke.
Regularly ranked as one of the top private universities in the country, Duke has top programs in computer science, public policy and econometrics.
11. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M football
Salary: $7.5 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 183
Texas A&M is best known for its strong engineering program, but also business and agriculture.
Fisher, who won a national championship at Florida State before jumping to Texas A&M, is a lifelong coach. He became a graduate assistant after retiring as a player in 1988.
10. Mario Cristobal, Miami football
Salary: $8 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 146
The private university is known for its strong research programs. Top degrees include nursing, finance and biology.
Cristobal is a University of Miami graduate with a master’s in business.
9. Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball
Salary: $8.341 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 205
Michigan State, which features more than 200 degrees, has a particularly strong business program.
Izzo has been coach at Michigan State since 1995, winning a national championship in 2000 and reaching eight Final Fours.
8. Dabo Swinney, Clemson football
Tuitions salary could fund: 217
Clemson features strong programs in business, biology and psychology.
Swinney has a master’s in business from Alabama.
7. John Calipari, Kentucky basketball
Salary: $8.602 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 272
Kentucky features strong programs in business, accounting and pharmacy. And perhaps to no one’s surprise, Calipari has a degree in marketing — he’s well known for selling his program to players who want to make a name in college before jumping to the NBA.
6. David Shaw, Stanford football
Salary: $8.925 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 155
Stanford is regularly ranked among the top universities in the world, with elite programs in computer sciences (it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley) and liberal arts. The graduate programs in business, medicine and law are very strong.
Shaw is a Stanford graduate with a B.A. in sociology.
5. Mel Tucker, Michigan State football
Salary: $9.5 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 233
Michigan State is the only school with two names on this list. The school features a strong business program.
Tucker has a degree in agricultural business management from Wisconsin.
4. Brian Kelly, LSU football
Salary: $9.5 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 332
Louisiana State features strong programs in landscape architecture and nursing. Kelly is in his first year at LSU after coaching at Notre Dame. He has a degree in political science from Assumption, and his number of tuitions is second-highest on this list.
3. Nick Saban, Alabama football
Salary: $9.7 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 321
The University of Alabama has a strong business program, and its engineering program is also ranked highly.
Saban is considered the greatest coach in college football history, with six national championships at Alabama and one at LSU. He has a master’s degree in sports administration.
2. Lincoln Riley, USC football
Salary: $10 million+ (estimate)
Tuitions salary could fund: 165
Riley is heading into his first season at Southern Cal after five successful seasons at Oklahoma. At 38, he’s the youngest coach on this list, and he has a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from Texas Tech.
The university features strong programs in business, communications and film.
1. Bill Self, Kansas basketball
Salary: $10.184 million
Tuitions salary could fund: 378
At the top of this coaching list is Self, who has taken his Jayhawks to four Final Fours and won the 2008 national title. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Oklahoma State.
KU features strong degrees in nursing, journalism, psychology and nursing.
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For this piece, GOBankingRates sourced Sportsnaut’s list of highest paid college football coaches and USA Today’s list of highest-paid college basketball coaches. GOBankingRates then sourced out-of-state undergraduate freshman tuition information for each relevant school (not including room and board, books and other fees) and divided the pertinent tuition into relevant salary to find the number of students’ tuition that salary would fund. All data was collected on and up to date as of March 24, 2022.