Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils in 2014. He is the highest paid coach in the NCAA.
Photograph by Streeter Lecka — Getty Images
By Erik Sherman
March 21, 2015

March Madness: Americans are crazy for it, spending a collective 664 million hours last year alone in front of screens, watching college athletes race up and down courts while dribbling, shooting, fouling, and waiting during commercials. And it’s expensive. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated that companies would lose upwards of $1.9 billion in wages as people fill out their brackets and track results.

Even as managers try to control the event in their offices, the NCAA wants to keep the series from intersecting with business in a different way. The body has asked appellate judges to keep players from making money off licensing their names and likenesses. The officials want to keep the amateur standing of the games. At least for student players.

Coaches are a different matter. Far from the amateur ranks, experienced and winning coaches get CEO-sized compensation from big public and private universities. More than an ego boost, basketball — the men’s programs, in particular — can bring in tens of millions of dollars and leave a profit sweeter than any last-second three-point shot. Every year, USA Today and the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center work together to assemble and calculate the men’s basketball coaches’ salaries.

Fortune took the most recent numbers and combined them with results from university financial or government regulatory filings to show how big the salaries, and the payback (when available), are at the five schools paying the most to their coaches. We also provided the pay for the associated university president or chancellor for comparative context.

Duke University

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Total pay: $9,682,032
Maximum bonus: N/A
University president pay: Richard H. Brodhead, $1.1 million
Basketball program revenue: $27 million
Basketball program expenses: $14.2 million
Gross profit: $12.8 million

University of Louisville

Coach: Rick Pitino
Total pay: $5,758,338
Maximum bonus: $775,000
University president pay: James Ramsey, $1.2 million
Basketball program revenue: $16.7 million
Basketball program expenses: $12.1 million
Gross profit: $4.6 million

University of Kentucky

Coach: John Calipari
Total pay: $5,511,381
Maximum bonus: $850,000
University president pay: Eli Capilouto, $685,500
Basketball program revenue: $22.8 million
Basketball program expenses: $15.1 million
Gross profit: $7.7 million

University of Kansas

Coach: Bill Self
Total pay: $4,960,763
Maximum bonus: $525,000
University chancellor pay: Bernadette Gray-Little, $492,650
Basketball program revenue: N/A, not separate from overall athletics numbers
Basketball program expenses: N/A
Gross profit: N/A

University of Florida

Coach: Billy Donovan
Total pay: $3,905,964
Maximum bonus: $454,000
University president pay: Kent Fuchs, $1 million
Basketball program revenue: $10 million
Basketball program expenses: $8.6 million
Gross profit: $1.4 million

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