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Duke Paid Coach K Record $12.5 Million in 2020-21, Filings Show

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Duke University paid Mike Krzyzewski over $12.5 million in 2020-21, according to the school’s federal tax filings that year, an amount that rivals the most ever paid by a university to a college head coach during a non-buyout year. For FY21, Krzyzewski’s earnings easily topped those of the country’s second highest-paid basketball coach, Kansas’ Bill Self ($10.2 million), as well as its highest grossing football coach, Nick Saban of Alabama ($9.8 million).

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It would have also made him the fourth-highest paid coach in America, pro or college, that year, according to an analysis by Sportico.

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Krzyzewski retired at the end of this past season, and pay information for that year will not be available until next summer.

Duke’s latest IRS filings show that Krzyzewski was paid a base compensation of $3.27 million in 2020-2021 and received an additional $2 million in bonuses and incentives. The bulk of his earnings come from a one-time payment of deferred compensation ($7.24 million).

Krzyzewki’s latest revealed income only adds to the $100 million-plus he has has amassed in the course of his four-decade coaching at Duke, which began in 1980. Krzyzewski’s tenure saw the Blue Devils claim five national titles and 13 bids to the Final Four, including one during his 2021-22 swan song, where Duke lost by four points to rival North Carolina.

“Coach K’s compensation has always reflected his strong commitment to athletic and academic success for 42 years at Duke, and his extensive and impactful service to the university, the community and the country,” said Michael Schoenfeld, the university’s vice president for public affairs.

Previously, Krzyzewski’s on-court financial pinnacle came during the 2011-12 academic year, when his total compensation reached $9.7 million. In 2019-20, he earned $7.3 million.

In addition to his coaching duties, Krzyzewski has earned money for promoting national companies such as Allstate, American Express, and Nike. Krzyzewski was among the earliest big-name coaches to throw his public support behind California’s first-in-the-national law allowing college athletes the right to earn money from their name, image and likeness.

“We’ve had our head in the sand a lot for college,” he said back in 2019, referring to the leadership in intercollegiate athletics. “We’re very much reactionary.”

Last month, the school team gifted Krzyzewski a Silver Lab puppy as a retirement present.

Krzyzewski’s compensation for this past year, his denouement coaching in Durham, NC, will not be made public until Duke releases its FY022 tax returns sometime next summer.

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