Campus Corner

How Kentucky coach John Calipari’s new contract extension compares with Bill Self’s deal

Kentucky coach John Calipari, left, greeted Kansas coach Bill Self before the NCAA championship game on April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.
Kentucky coach John Calipari, left, greeted Kansas coach Bill Self before the NCAA championship game on April 2, 2012, in New Orleans. AP

In September 2012, just months after appearing in the NCAA championship game, Kansas awarded coach Bill Self with a lavish, 10-year contract extension.

The details of the extension were complex — the contract includes 32 pages and includes part of previous contracts — but they amounted to this: If Self remains the coach at Kansas through the 2021-22 season, he will be compensated with more than $52 million.

The extension, which came after Self’s second title game appearance in five years, was designed to keep Self among the highest paid men’s basketball coaches in the country.

The market, of course, keeps going up.

Kentucky on Thursday unveiled a new seven-year extension worth $52.5 million for coach John Calipari. Next season, Calipari’s guaranteed compensation will be $6.5 million, and it will steadily rise until peaking at $8 million annually from 2018-21, the final three seasons of the deal.

Calipari has taken Kentucky to three Final Fours in five seasons at the school, including an NCAA title in 2012 and a championship game appearance this past season.

Given the nature of contracts, it’s hard to neatly compare Calipari’s extension with the one Kansas gave Self in 2012. Calipari’s deal features zero performance bonuses other than a $50,000 yearly bonus if his program makes a 950 score on the Academic Progress Rate.

Self, meanwhile, can cash in on yearly bonuses for Big 12 regular-season titles ($50,000); Big 12 tournament titles ($25,000); the AP Coach of the Year award ($100,000) Final Fours ($150,000); and NCAA titles ($200,000).

Calipari’s deal includes $16.3 million in retention bonuses over seven years, while Self’s 10-year deal features more than $22.4 million in retention bonuses, including a lump sum of $6 million for staying at Kansas for the entire contract.

When Kansas awarded Self his latest extension, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger talked about using benchmarks in the market to find the right compensation package for Self.

Calipari’s new deal is certainly a rather hefty benchmark. Calipari will make close to $7.5 million in average salary during the next seven years, more than $2 million more than Self’s average salary — if he stays through 2022.

According to the USA Today database on college basketball coaching salaries, Calipari soared past Louisville’s Rick Pitino ($5.76 million annually) into second place among coaches salaries. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is still believed to be the highest paid coach in the country. In 2011, Krzyzewski was credited with making $9.682 million, according to USA Today. As a private school, Duke is not required to disclose the salaries of employees.

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to Follow him at