When we think of athletes being overpaid, we often ignore the fact that most coaches in professional and college sports are rolling in the dough. Forbes recently ranked the top 20 coaches in the country when it comes to their pay checks, including both college and professional sports.
If you believe the national narrative, John Calipari is being paid and infinite amount of money each year to coach the Kentucky Wildcats? But what if I told you he is not even the highest paid college basketball coach? Or that he barely cracks the top five of college coaches for any sport?
For the overall list, John Calipari comes in at No. 12 in the country, making $8.6 million per year. That is reported based on the next ten years of his “lifetime contract.” Of course, these figures do not include endorsements or side gigs of coaching national teams for any of the coaches listed. Let’s take a look at the top 20.
Top Paid Coaches in American Sports
- Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, $12 million
- Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs, $11 million
- Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, $11 million (tie for No. 2)
- Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers, $10 million
- Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders, $10 million (tie for No. 4)
- Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints, $9.75 million
- Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors, $9.5 million
- Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide, $9.4 million
- Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers, $9.3 million
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens, $9 million
- Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Blue Devils, $9 million (tied for No. 10)
- John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats, $8.6 million
- Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams, $8.5 million
- Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat, $8.5 million (tied for No. 13)
- Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons, $8 million
- Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers, $8 million (tied for No. 15)
- Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks, $8 million (tied for No. 15)
- Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs, $8 million (tied for No. 15)
- Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, $7.75 million (recently fired)
- Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines, $7.73 million
The most amazing aspect of this list to me, is the teams that are absent. There are NO baseball managers listed. Major League Baseball is the league that pays the players the highest salaries of any sport.
Also, you do not see the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, or Dallas Cowboys on the list. These are teams known for their deep pockets, and they do not pay their coaches as well as other franchises. Aside from the Lakers, that lack of investment seems to manifest on the court. And, let’s be honest, LeBron James really coaches the Lakers and he would be No. 1 on this list.