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At Final Four, Top-Ranked South Carolina Is Also No. 1 In Spending

  • South Carolina spends the most of the Final Four contenders by far — on both its team and head coach.
  • The Virginia Tech Hokies spent $3.4 million last year, the least of all four teams.
South Carolina Gamecocks forward Aliyah Boston, left, guard Zia Cooke, middle, and head coach Dawn Staley speak before the NCAA Womens Final Four
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS — Every women’s Final Four team this year hails from a Power 5 conference. But just because they come from the richest conferences doesn’t mean they spend the same amount of money on their women’s basketball teams. 

South Carolina spends the most of the Final Four contenders by far — on both its team and head coach.

The Gamecocks shelled out a whopping $9.5 million last year, according to Department of Education data from the 2021-22 season. In addition, coach Dawn Staley, who makes close to $3 million annually, is the second-highest-paid women’s basketball coach in the country.

  • The LSU Tigers came in second, with $8.3 million in expenses last season.
  • The Iowa Hawkeyes were slightly farther behind, with $6 million. 
  • The Virginia Tech Hokies, who will appear in their first Final Four on Friday night, spent only $3.4 million. 

Those figures don’t include coaching salaries, though head coaching contracts follow the same rankings as overall team budgets.

  • LSU coach Kim Mulkey makes $2.6 million per year, third in the nation.
  • Iowa coach Lisa Bluder earns $1.1 million, ranking eighth.
  • Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks, who reportedly makes well under $1 million, isn’t even on the list for the top 25 highest-paid coaches.

Despite the discrepancy, all four have earned a trip to Dallas — and will face off on Friday night.

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