Winning teams bring big bonuses for Calipari, Mitchell and Barnhart

lblackford@herald-leader.comMarch 26, 2012 

  • John Calipari

    • $50,000 for winning the SEC regular season title;

    • $100,000 for making the NCAA Sweet 16;

    • $100,000 for making the NCAA Elite Eight;

    • $150,000 for making the NCAA Final Four.

    • $350,000 bonus for winning the NCAA Championship

  • Rick Pitino

    • $50,000 for the Big East Tournament Championship;

    • $50,000 for making the NCAA Sweet 16;

    • $50,000 for making the NCAA Elite Eight;

    • $75,000 for making the NCAA Final Four.

    • $150,000 for winning the NCAA Championship

The University of Kentucky's continued success in NCAA basketball tournaments means big bucks for men's Coach John Calipari, women's Coach Matthew Mitchell and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.

The three already have earned $610,000 in bonuses based on the performance of the men's and women's basketball teams during the regular season and NCAA tournaments. If both teams were to win national championships, the trio would rake in an additional $555,000.

Incentive and longevity bonuses are increasingly common as part of the growing arms race in coaches' salaries. According to the NCAA, the median yearly package of salary and benefits for the head men's basketball coach at a Division 1 school in 2010 was $962,000.

Calipari has been named the top-paid basketball coach in the country. He gets a base salary of $400,000 and an additional $3.4 million annually in broadcasting and endorsement payments. So far this season, he has earned $400,000 in bonuses, including:

■ $50,000 for winning the SEC regular season title.

■ $100,000 for making the NCAA Sweet 16.

■ $100,000 for making the NCAA Elite Eight.

■ $150,000 for making the NCAA Final Four.

(He would have gotten another bonus of $50,000 if the men's team had won the SEC tournament.)

If UK wins the NCAA Championship, Calipari will receive an additional $350,000 bonus.

But thanks to a contract revision last year, Calipari's biggest payday will come on July 31. That's when he gets $1 million as part of a series of longevity bonuses that start in 2012 and could give him an additional $5 million through 2019.

In comparison, University of Louisville men's basketball Coach Rick Pitino has earned $225,000 in bonuses:

■ $50,000 for the Big East Tournament Championship.

■ $50,000 for making the NCAA Sweet 16.

■ $50,000 for making the NCAA Elite Eight.

■ $75,000 for making the NCAA Final Four.

If Louisville wins the NCAA Championship, Pitino would receive an additional $150,000. He makes a base salary of $1.5 million a year, plus $1.5 million for broadcasting and other duties.

Mitchell, who gets a base salary of $250,000 and gets $375,000 annually in broadcasting and endorsement payments, already has earned $145,000 in bonuses:

■ $25,000 for winning the SEC regular season title.

■ $20,000 for making the NCAA tournament.

■ $40,000 for making the NCAA Sweet 16.

■ $60,000 for making the NCAA Elite Eight.

(He would have received an additional $25,000 bonus if the women's team had won the SEC tournament.)

If the Kentucky women make it to the Final Four on Tuesday, Mitchell will get $80,000, and a contract extension of as much as eight years. And if they win the NCAA tournament, he gets an additional $100,000 bonus.

In most cases, Barnhart's bonuses are not allowed to exceed those earned by the coaches. His base salary is $600,000 a year. So far, he has earned $65,000 in bonuses:

■ $15,000 for the women's basketball team winning the SEC regular season title.

■ $25,000 for the men's team making the NCAA tournament.

■ $25,000 for the men's team making the NCAA Final Four.

He'll get another $25,000 if the women's team makes it to the NCAA Final Four.

Barnhart's contract also calls for a combined bonus of $190,000 if the UK football team makes it to the Bowl Championship Series in the same year that both the men's and the women's basketball teams play in the NCAA Final Four.

All of the money for bonuses is budgeted and awarded from the UK athletics department, university spokesman Jay Blanton said.

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service