For some coaches, it’s enough for them to just make it to the NCAA tournament. You can see it in their face, like when Mark Gottfried went wild as NC State was announced, or when Brett Reed raised his hands above his head in victory after beating Duke.
But, what most people don’t see are the dollar signs; the incentives that give that extra push and make an NCAA tournament victory a little sweeter.
Turns out, a lot of the coaches in the Sweet 16 are making a pretty penny, as their teams advance. USA Today analyzed the contracts of 13 of the 16 coaches remaining in the tournament and broke down the structure of their incentives.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta has come away most handsomely, so far, having accrued $2.55 million (including a one year contract extension) for leading his Buckeyes to the Sweet 16. If Jared Sullinger & Co. can win a national title, he’ll pocket an extra $140,000.
The most interesting part is taking a look at the difference between high-major coaches like Gottfried at NC State and mid-majors like Ohio’s John Groce.
Gottfried received an extra $62,500 for getting his Wolfpack to the Sweet 16. Groce would have to win a national title to come within a few thousand of that ($60,000).
That does a pretty good job of illustrating why so many coaches are waiting for their big break.
The biggest prize on the table is waiting for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who stands to make $200,000 if the Spartans win the NCAA title. That figure includes $50,000 from the school’s contract with Nike.
TV analyst and former player Jay Bilas, who is a regular critic of the NCAA, took to Twitter to ask a question worthy of discussion:
If these coaches are making so much in incentives, why can’t a system be conceived where players get paid as well?