Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's pay has reached the $5 million-a-year level, cementing his status as one of the highest paid coaches in college sports.
New tax filings provided by Duke University to The (Raleigh) News & Observer show that Krzyzewski's pay from the private university in Durham topped $4.95 million in 2009, the latest year covered by a required tax filing.
A review of tax records shows that Krzyzewski's pay almost quadrupled in the five years after he was courted by the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.
Krzyzewski, who is three wins away from becoming the all-time winningest Division I college basketball coach, has steadily moved up in the pay ranks of college basketball coaches. Only Louisville's Rick Pitino, who is paid a base salary of more than $6 million per year, earns more, according to publicly available records.
UK basketball coach John Calipari is under contract for $31.65 million over eight years (an average of almost $4 million a year).
Kentucky is currently working on extending Calipari's deal.
In football, Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Texas Coach Mack Brown are both paid more than $5 million a year, records show.
The latest pay figure from Duke does not cover Krzyzewski's pay in 2010 — a year in which Duke won its fourth national title under his coaching tenure.
While Krzyzewski's contract is not public, his compensation as the highest-paid employee at Duke is a required part of a public tax filing.
The tax filing provided is for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, but university officials said Duke reported calendar year 2009 compensation in keeping with IRS regulations. The coach's 2010 compensation will not be available until next year, Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said.
Krzyzewski, who has won 78.7 percent of his games at Duke, declined to comment. Schoenfeld said no other university leaders will comment on the pay, in keeping with longstanding practice.
Million-dollar contracts for coaches have drawn scrutiny at other programs as states and private schools trim expenses. Duke offered buyouts to university employees in 2009.
At last year's Final Four, the coach told reporters he's paid what the market bears and acknowledged his role as the university's public face to national and worldwide audiences.
Krzyzewski's latest pay figure is a jump from the roughly $4 million Duke paid him the year before.
The increase is the result of a bigger bonus than previous years and a payment of previously deferred compensation.
The compensation listed in tax forms does not include outside pay from shoe contracts or other such deals, or from his duties coaching the U.S. national team. The N&O also did not include $420,000 in additional deferred compensation reported on the filing in the 2009 calculation because it was not paid to him in that year.
In 2004, Krzyzewski turned down a reported $8 million-a-year offer to coach the Lakers, saying coaching college players was alluring and "has no price."
The interest from the Lakers triggered action by Duke president Richard Brodhead days after he had assumed the university presidency.
In a radio interview broadcast last week on 99.9-FM's David Glenn Show, Krzyzewski recalled how intense that time period was, to the point that his own family was "sick" of seeing him on TV in the hour-by-hour coverage of his decision.
His Duke pay then was less than $1.4 million a year.
Duke officials said after he decided to stay that they did "a few things" for Krzyzewski in his contract.
Earlier this month, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier proposed a plan to allow coaches to pay players from their salaries. Six other SEC coaches gave their support, saying they'd pay $300 per game to each team's 70 roster players. The idea would cost each coach about $250,000.
The proposal has not gained traction with college conferences or the NCAA.