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Monday, June 24, 2024

Who Is The Highest-Paid Women’s College Basketball Coach?

  • LSU's Kim Mulkey leads the way in salary after winning her fourth national title.
  • Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and South Carolina's Dawn Staley are next in line and are looking to add another national title to their resume.
The Greenville News

With a win in the 2023 NCAA Basketball National Championship — her fourth title after winning three with Baylor — Kim Mulkey (above) ascended into the conversation of the greatest women’s college basketball coaches of all-time.

LSU rewarded the 61-year-old with a 10-year, $32 million extension — making her the highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball on an average annual basis. With the raise, she leapfrogged UConn’s Geno Auriemma ($3.1M) and South Carolina’s Dawn Staley ($3.1M).

While Mulkey’s raise is a step in the right direction, women’s coaches are still fighting to earn comparable salaries to their men’s counterparts.

Across Power 5 college sports, coaching salaries for women’s sports aren’t growing at a rate comparable to men’s salaries, according to a new study submitted for formal publication on Wednesday, which was led by Wayne State professor and Syracuse scholar-in-residence Scott Hirko.

Between 2014-2021, average Power 5 men’s coaching compensation grew at a rate of 55%, while women’s only grew 33%. The study data was collected and published by the Knight-Newhouse College Athletics Database.

Men’s coaching buyouts also grew at a rate astronomically higher than all of the women’s salaries — 208%, from $574,188 to $1.8 million.

It’s reasonable to assume average women’s salaries will continue to be lower than men’s.

The study notes that Power 5 football — by far the most lucrative college sport — contributed to the dynamic. The launch of the College Football Playoff in 2014, for example, allowed for major inflation of football spending. 

But the disparity in growth rate suggests that top programs haven’t provided an equitable investment in women’s sports. In fact, the study found that a growth gap existed even when football was taken out of the equation. 

But you can also notice the recent data on who is the highest-paid men’s college basketball head coach.

Top 25 Coaches 2023 to 24 

Most of the annual earnings are based on 2023 to ’24 USA Today data on public universities and from news organizations but take into account coaching changes, compensation data, and the latest information. Private universities, which are not required to disclose salaries, were not included in this list.

  • Updated: March 14, 2024
  • Will be updated again: October 2024
RankCoachSchoolSalary
1Kim MulkeyLSU$3.26 million
2Geno AuriemmaConnecticut$3.1 million
3Dawn StaleySouth Carolina$3.1 million
4Vic SchaeferTexas$2.3 million
5Brenda FreseMaryland$1.88 million
6Jeff WalzLouisville$1.75 million
7Joni TaylorTexas A&M$1.5 million
8Lisa BluderIowa$1.4 million
9Teri MorenIndiana$1.25 million
10Adia BarnesArizona$1.2 million
11Shauna GreenIllinois$1.1 million
12Kellie HarperTennessee$1.1 million
13Scott RueckOregon State$1.09 million
14Kelly GravesOregon$1.08 million
15Kevin McGuffOhio State$1.04 million
16Yolett McPhee-McCuinOle Miss$1.04 million
17Wes MooreNorth Carolina St.$1.03 million
18Robyn FralickMichigan State$1 million
19Katie Abrahamson-HendersonGeorgia$977,000
20Courtney BanghartNorth Carolina$950,000
21Kim Barnes AricoMichigan$893,500
22Kenny BrooksVirginia Tech$890,000
23Bill FennellyIowa State$850,000
24Nell FortnerGeorgia Tech$816,000
25Jennie BaranczykOklahoma$800,000
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