Duke paid Coach K record-breaking $13.7M in 2020

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Retired Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski broke many records during his long career, and his 2020 salary should be added to that lengthy list.

According to school tax filings obtained by USA Today, Coach K was the highest-paid Duke employee in 2020, as well as the highest-paid coach ever, credited with $13.7 million in total earnings.

Here's how that $13.7 million approximately breaks down:

  • $3.3 million in base salary

  • $2 million in bonus pay and incentives

  • $7.2 million in deferred compensation (one-time payment)

  • $1.1 million in retirement and other deferred compensation

Coach K's 2020 pay breaks records

Without the $1.1 million in deferred compensation, Coach K's net pay in 2020 was around $12.5 million. According to USA Today, which has been tracking college coach compensation since 2006, that's the largest single-year payout to a coach that wasn't connected to a buyout. His 2020 net pay also easily outpaces the nation's second-highest paid basketball coach, Kansas' Bill Self, who made $10.2 million that year per Sportico, and Alabama's Nick Saban, who made $9.8 million in 2020 as the highest-paid college football coach in the country.

In 2020, Duke spent over half of the basketball team's revenue on Coach K's salary. Per Sportico, figures reported to the Department of Education show that the program made $22.5 that season (which was highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic), and $12.5 million of that was spent on Coach K. However, USA Today reported that Coach K was paid between $7 million and $7.4 million on Duke's four previous tax filings, so his 2020 salary is more of an outlier than the norm.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 26: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates the win against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Elite Eight round of the 2022 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament held at Chase Center on March 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made a record $13.7 million in 2020. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

"Mike Krzyzewski is the most successful college basketball coach in history whose record and accomplishments will probably never be matched. Coach K’s compensation has always reflected his strong commitment to athletic and academic success for 42 years at Duke, and his extensive and impactful service to the university, the community and the country." said Michael Schoenfeld, the university's vice president for public affairs, in a statement to USA Today.

As far as Coach K's compensation in 2021, we won't get that number until next summer, which is when private institutions like Duke are required to report their compensation to the government.

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