Mike Krzyzewski did not get his storybook ending, as the Duke Blue Devils fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-77 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 robust bank account.
Duke hired Krzyzewski in 1980 after five seasons at Army, and his paycheck soared as he racked up Final Four trips—13 in all, but only three since 2004. Duke University tax returns show that the coach earned at least $87 million over the two decades from 2000 through June 2020. Add in his first 20 years on the job, along with his pay the past two seasons—filings are not available yet—and Coach K earned more than $100 million while in Durham. In addition, he’s pocketed millions pitching for Allstate, American Express, Chevrolet, Nike and more.
Duke has also contributed to the Emily K Center, a nonprofit founded by Coach K and named after his mother to help students from populations often underrepresented in higher education. The annual grant in the most recently available tax filings 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 outside of Sportico’s ranking last year of the highest-paid coaches across all U.S. 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 at $11.5 million.
Krzyzewski was offered chances to make the NBA leap multiple times, including a bid by 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, he was rumored to want Coach K and was willing to make him the sport’s highest-paid coach at up to $15 million a year.
While he never coached in the NBA, Krzyzewski had an outsized impact on the league. He has had nearly 70 players selected in the NBA Draft, including 42 first-round picks and three top selections overall. He got a taste of coaching its players as an assistant for the 1992 Dream Team and later as head coach of the U.S. national team, which he led to three Olympic gold medals. Not the only gold for the Hall of Fame coach.
–With assistance from Daniel Libit