LSU’s Kim Mulkey ranks among the nation’s highest paid coaches

Women’s college basketball highest-paid coaches: Kim Mulkey passes Geno Auriemma, Dawn Staley.

The 2023-24 season features a new top earner.

With superstars such as Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese elevating women’s college basketball further into the mainstream, more eyes have never been on the sport than the 2023-24 season.

Kim Mulkey Channels School Spirit in National Championship Outfit - Sports  Illustrated

As such, the coaches building star-studded rosters and guiding them to prominence continue to make increasing amounts of money, as evidenced by LSU’s Kim Mulkey signing last offseason a massive 10-year, $32 million contract extension after winning her first national championship with the Tigers.

Mulkey became the third coach to surpass the $3 million mark in annual salary, per the USA Today salary database, raising the bar for what is possible, financially, in a sport on a steep upward rise.

In total, 18 confirmed coaches earned at least $1 million in total compensation during the current campaign, and that number could rise in the years to come.

Private schools are not required to publish financial data, meaning that coaches including Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer undoubtedly rank among the top annual earners but do not have publicly available salary figures.

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Here are the 10 highest-paid coaches in women’s basketball:

10. ADIA BARNES, ARIZONA: $1,200,000

(Photo: Getty)
Arizona alumna Adia Barnes returned to her alma mater in 2016 after a nearly two-decade-long professional playing career and assistant coaching stint at Washington. In the time since reuniting with the Wildcats, Barnes turned her program into a perennial NCAA Tournament contender, leading them to three-straight March Madness appearances from 2021-23.

The first of those trips to the Big Dance saw Arizona reach its first Final Four and defeat UConn to advance to the national championship game. Barnes signed a five-year contract extension worth $5.85 million after that 2021 tournament run.


9. TERI MOREN, INDIANA: $1,250,000

(Photo: Getty)
In addition to her duties at Indiana, Teri Moren will also serve as the head coach of the 2024 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, the organization announced three weeks ago, when Team USA competes this summer at the FIBA U18 Women’s AmeriCup. The last nine of Moren’s 10 Indiana teams won at least 20 games. After she led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten regular-season championship in 40 years and first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed last season, and won the AP College Basketball Coach of the Year award, Moren signed a contract extension to keep her at Indiana through the 2028-29 season.

8. LISA BLUDER, IOWA: $1,400,000

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
For the first time in more than three decades, Iowa is a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Head coach Lisa Bluder built perhaps her best Hawkeye team to date, surrounding legendary guard Caitlin Clark with a tremendous supporting cast that could lead Iowa to a national title.

The Hawkeyes came up one victory short of immortality last season, and Bluder landed a two-year contract extension as a result of completing her best campaign to date. Under her tutelage, Iowa missed the postseason (NCAA Tournament and WNIT included) just once in 24 years.

7. JONI TAYLOR, TEXAS A&M: $1,500,000

(Photo: Getty)
Texas A&M hired Joni Taylor away from Georgia in 2022 after she took the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, and in completing the intra-conference move, Taylor received a significant pay bump and became one of college basketball’s highest-paid coaches.

She quickly put the Aggies on an upward trajectory, sparking a 10-win turnaround from her debut season to the present and clinching a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament — Texas A&M’s first bid since it went to the 2021 Sweet 16.

6. JEFF WALZ, LOUISVILLE: $1,754,000

(Photo: ACC Media)
With a first-round win in March Madness, Louisville would set up a potential matchup against reigning national champion LSU and former Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith.

Head coach Jeff Walz told his team to focus on the first round and the first round only, knowing what could lie ahead. This is Walz’s 13th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance with the Cardinals, and each of his last five teams advanced to at least the Elite Eight. He last restructured his contract in 2022 and will earn $2 million during the 2028-29 season, which is the last year of the current deal.

5. BRENDA FRESE, MARYLAND: $1,884,085


(Photo: Getty)
Maryland narrowly kept its postseason streak alive when it secured a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, sending Brenda Frese to her 12th-straight Big Dance.

It was an uncharacteristic regular season for the Terrapins, whose 19 wins and nine conference victories are both their lowest marks since the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Half the battle is getting into the field, though, and that is where Frese thrives as a one-time national champion with three career Final Four appearances.

4. VIC SCHAEFER, TEXAS: $2,300,000

(Photo: Amy Kontras, USA TODAY Sports)
For the first time at Texas and third time overall, Vic Schaefer has a No. 1-seeded team entering March Madness. The storied coach, who took Mississippi State to consecutive national championship games before departing from his post atop the program, has found nothing but success with the Longhorns and takes his best team into the postseason as a threat to win his first title.

The brilliant defensive mind produced one of the nation’s top offenses during the regular season with Texas ranking No. 11 nationally in scoring at 81.2 points per game.

T-2. GENO AURIEMMA, UCONN: $3,100,000

(Photo: Getty)
Geno Auriemma is one of the most decorated coaches in any sport and at any level of major American sports. The 11-time national champion, nine-time AP Coach of the Year, three-time Olympic gold medalist and Basketball Hall of Fame inductee has nothing left to prove at this point in his storied career.

Auriemma last re-upped his contract in May 2021 when he extended his stay atop the UConn program through the 2025 season, bringing his annual salary (including bonuses and additional compensation) to the peak of women’s college basketball at the time.

T-2. DAWN STALEY, SOUTH CAROLINA: $3,100,000

(Photo: Ryan Bethea, 247Sports)
Two-time national champion Dawn Staley has been to the Sweet 16 in nine-consecutive NCAA Tournaments and looks this spring to both extend that streak and potentially complete her first undefeated season. South Carolina is a perfect 32-0 entering the postseason — a testament to Staley’s National Coach of the Year award-winning performance atop the program. This is perhaps Staley’s finest work yet, as she re-tooled a roster that lost all five starters from a year ago and turned it into a No. 1 overall seed.

1. KIM MULKEY, LSU: $3,264,000

(Photo: Getty)
Kim Mulkey and LSU agreed in September to a massive 10-year, $32 million contract extension to make her the highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball.

The deal came on the heels of the Tigers’ run to the national championship in her second year at the helm. Mulkey, 61, earns this season more than $3 million from LSU and will make $3.65 annually at the end of her contract. The former Baylor coach has not lost more than six games in a season since 2009-10 and carries a 28-5 record into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed.



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