Mike Krzyzewski didn’t get the end of his storybook as the Duke Blue Devils fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-77 on Saturday night in the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Coach K retires with a record 1,202 wins, five NCAA titles, and a solid bank account.
Duke signed Krzyzewski in 1980 after five seasons at Army, and his paycheck skyrocketed as he racked up trips to the Final Four — 13 total, but only three since 2004. Duke University tax returns show that coach earned at least $87 million over the two decades. from 2000 to June 2020. Add in his first 20 years on the job, along with his pay from the last two seasons (submissions not yet available), and Coach K earned more than $100 million while at Durham. Additionally, he has pocketed millions pitching for Allstate, American Express, Chevrolet, Nike and more.
Duke has also contributed to the Emily K Center, a nonprofit organization founded by Coach K and named after her mother to help students from populations often underrepresented in higher education. The annual grant on the most recent available tax returns was $228,500.
Krzyzewski earned $7.3 million from Duke during the 2019-20 season, and his total compensation peaked at $9.7 million for 2011-12. He fell out of SportsLast year’s ranking of the highest-paid coaches in all US sports, based on average salary. In college basketball, only John Calipari cracked the top 25 at No. 15 with $8.6 million. Seven NBA coaches made the cut, led by Gregg Popovich with $11.5 million.
Krzyzewski was offered opportunities to make the jump to the NBA several times, including an offer from the Boston Celtics in 1990. He turned down the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004, despite a reported offer of $40 million over five years. After Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets in 2010, it was rumored that he wanted Coach K and was willing to make him the highest-paid coach in the sport at up to $15 million a year.
While he never coached in the NBA, Krzyzewski made a huge impact on the league. He has had nearly 70 players selected in the NBA Draft, including 42 first-round picks and three top picks overall. He got a taste of coaching his players as an assistant on the 1992 Dream Team and later as head coach of the US national team, which he led to three Olympic gold medals. He’s not the only gold for the Hall of Fame coach.
–With the assistance of Daniel Libit