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March Madness has officially arrived, which means the best (and richest) head coaches in college basketball will appear on the national stage this month with a championship on the line. The NCAA Tournament will be missing a few familiar faces this year, as Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, and Jay Wright have all faded away into retirement.

Legendary coaches such as Bill Self, John Calipari, and Tom Izzo have led their teams to the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but which one is raking in the most cash this season? Let’s check out the highest-paid head coaches in college basketball and see who has the highest salary.

John Calipari is the highest-paid coach in college basketball this season

John Calipari yells on the sideline.
Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats yells on the sideline during a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No surprise here, right?

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is the highest-paid head coach in college basketball for the 2022-23 season. Coach Cal signed a 10-year, $86 million contract extension in 2019, and his current salary of $8.5 million is the highest in the NCAA.

Calipari has reached six Final Fours in his career; one with UMass, one with Memphis, and four with Kentucky. He led the Wildcats to a national championship in 2012, but that remains his lone title as a college coach. As for this season, Kentucky is a 6 seed in the East region and will face off against Providence in the Round of 64.

Calipari could use a deep run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament after losing in the Round of 64 last year to 15-seeded St. Peter’s. Kentucky hasn’t made it past the first round since 2019.

Who are the highest-paid head coaches in March Madness?

Head CoachSchool2022-23 Salary
John CalipariKentucky$8.5 million
Bill SelfKansas$6 million
Tom IzzoMichigan St.$5.7 million
Rick BarnesTennessee$5.5 million
Bruce PearlAuburn$5.5 million
Tony BennettVirginia$4.8 million
Brad UnderwoodIllinois$4.6 million
Bob HugginsWest Virginia$4.2 million
Mick CroninUCLA$4.1 million
Eric MusselmanArkansas$4.1 million
Buzz WilliamsTexas A&M$4.1 million
Tommy LloydArizona$4 million
Kevin WillardMaryland$3.9 million
Ed CooleyProvidence$3.8 million

According to BetMGM, John Calipari, Kansas head coach Bill Self, and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo are the three highest-paid head coaches in college basketball this year. Self earns a salary of $6 million, and Izzo is right below him at $5.7 million.

Of the 15 highest-paid coaches in the NCAA, only Oregon head coach Dana Altman ($4 million) won’t be participating in March Madness this season.


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