Where Dawn Staley’s salary ranks among 2023 women’s Final Four coaches
South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is on the precipice of history — again.
The undefeated Gamecocks are two wins away from their third national championship under Staley as they play in Dallas this week in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four.
Top-seeded South Carolina (36-0) will face No. 2 Iowa (30-6) and star guard Catilin Clark at 9 p.m. Friday (ESPN). Take care of head coach Lisa Bluder’s squad, and a date with either Virginia Tech or LSU awaits in Sunday’s national title game (3:30 p.m., ABC).
So how is Staley compensated when compared with the other three coaches joining her in Dallas? Here’s a look:
Kenny Brooks, Virginia Tech
(482-189 career record)
Brooks has spent his entire coaching career in the state of Virginia. After working at Virginia Military Institute as an assistant coach, he worked 19 years at James Madison as, first, a men’s assistant coach, before becoming an assistant coach on the women’s side. He was named the Dukes’ head women’s basketball coach in 2003 and guided the program to six NCAA Tournament appearances.
Hired by Virginia Tech ahead of the 2016-2017 campaign, Brooks has won 20 or more games in six of his seven years as head coach. This year’s 31-4 squad is his best squad to date.
Brooks is in the midst of a deal that runs through the 2025-2026 season and paid him $625,000 annually in total compensation last season, per USA Today.
Lisa Bluder, Iowa
(493-245 career record)
Hired during the same cycle that brought Kim Mulkey to Baylor in 2000, Bluder has guided the Hawkeyes for 23 years. The program has been a steady presence in the NCAA Tournament for almost the entirety of Bluder’s tenure — reaching the postseason 17 times during that span.
That said, Bluder had never guided Iowa past the March Madness second round until 2014-15. The Hawkeyes have since reached the Sweet 16 or better in three of the past four NCAA Tournaments that were played.
Bluder signed a contract extension with Iowa that will run through the 2026 season. The deal pays her $838,506 in base salary, per Basketball Insiders, but includes other varying outside payments that equate to $1.3 million annually.
The contract also includes varying bonus structures depending on the success of Bluder’s teams. Among those stipulations:
Fails to qualify for NCAA Tournament, wins fewer than eight Big Ten games: 3% base pay increase
Doesn’t make the postseason but wins eight or more Big Ten games: 5% increase
Makes the NCAA Tournament: 8% increase
Reaches the Sweet 16: 10% increase
Makes the Elite Eight or further: 15% increase
Kim Mulkey, LSU
(690-112 career record)
Kim Mulkey’s winning pedigree goes back more than two decades.
Hired by LSU in a stunning move from Baylor, where she won 85.9% of her games, ahead of the 2021-2022 season, the Louisiana native has quickly resuscitated a dormant LSU program. Mulkey has posted a 58-8 record in her almost two seasons guiding the Tigers and was 15-1 in Southeastern Conference play this year — the lone loss coming at South Carolina in February.
Mulkey’s contract started at $2.45 million in annual salary and supplemental pay, but increases annually over the life of the deal, according to KWTX in Baton Rouge. She’s making $2.52 million during the 2022-23 season, not including bonuses.
Dawn Staley, South Carolina
(536-185 career record)
When Staley took over at South Carolina in 2008, it might have been hard to imagine the Gamecocks dominating the sport in the way they have the past six years.
The Philadelphia native has won 23 or more games every year since the 2011-12 season, has two national titles, five Final Fours and seven Southeastern Conference regular-season titles in 15 years on the job.
South Carolina re-upped Staley in October 2021 with a seven-year contract worth $22.4 million that runs through the 2027-28 season and makes her the highest-paid head coach in the SEC. Her annual salary currently sits at $3 million, but climbs to $3.5 million by the final year of the deal.
Staley’s contract made her the second-highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball behind only Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, according to USA Today’s 2021-22 salary database.