With Boston College starting in on a search for the next men's basketball coach, a few folks have asked what we can expect the school to pay the next coach. As Eagles fans are painfully aware, getting the contract right is as important as getting the hire right.
First let's look at some comparisons within the conference.
According to USA Today, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the highest paid coach in the nation; taking in more than $7 million dollars annually. $7,233,976 to be exact. Louisville's Rick Pitino comes in a distant second with a total pay approaching $5 million annually ($4,973,343). The Cardinals are set to join the ACC on July 1.
Here's how the rest of the conference's coaches stack up:
Mark Gottfried, N.C. State -- $1,950,000
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse -- $1,905,576
Mark Turgeon, Maryland -- $1,900,000
Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh -- $1,830,176
Roy Williams, North Carolina -- $1,773,938
Tony Bennett, Virginia -- $1,700,000
James Johnson, Virginia Tech -- $680,000
Mike Brey, Notre Dame -- $616,843
Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, Miami's Jim Larranaga, Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory and Clemson's Brad Brownell are reportedly making at or above $1,000,000 per year. So was Donahue. Wake Forest's Jeff Bzdelik's total pay has not been made available.
Basically, you get what you pay for. Virginia Tech's James Johnson was among the lowest paid coaches in the ACC and he lasted just two seasons. For comparison, Virginia Tech was paying Seth Greenberg approximately $1,500,000 a year.
That averages out to a shade over $2 million annually. If you throw out Coach K money -- because BC's next coach isn't making Coach K money -- as well as Brey's salary, the average dips down to around $1.7 million.
Other coaches of note:
Ben Howland made $2,250,000 in his last year at UCLA. Obviously a job is better than no job, but this is a pretty good benchmark for the type of money BC would need to spend to land a big time name. Auburn's Bruce Pearl and Providence's Ed Cooley both reportedly make over $2m as well.
Both VCU's Shaka Smart and Creighton's Doug McDermott are right around the $1.3m mark. Both are among the highest paid coaches at mid-major programs. From USA Today's coaching salary database, only Gonzaga's Mark Few makes more from a mid-major conference program.
So how does this stack up against BC's previous hire?
According to the school's tax filings, Donahue made $1,001,551 in total compensation during the 2012-13 season, his third year as men's basketball coach. That total comp was up from $735,184 the year before. Donahue's base salary started at $687,010 in 2010-11, his first year with the school. Bates will likely have to open up the checkbook and start the next coach at a much higher base salary somewhere around the conference average.
But would BC break the bank to find the next head coach? The job market is soft enough that the program wouldn't necessarily have to throw boatloads of money at the next coach. That said, it helps to be in line with your conference peers in terms of total compensation. One variable is Donahue's buyout. The school will pay the final two years of his salary, though I'd imagine there's some sort of offset clause in his contract that will reduce that figure should Donahue land on his feet elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if Bates treats this as a sunk cost or if this cuts into the next coach's salary.
The other variable, at least in my mind, is Steve Addazio. The Eagles football coach reportedly makes $1,750,000 annually, putting him smack in the middle of the Football Bowl Subdivision (~66 of 125). Can you see the school making the next men's basketball coach the highest paid coach at the school for what has become the third most popular sport on campus? The market seems to demand it, but I'm not sure BC makes it happen.