College hoops coaches don't come cheap. Even if you're the type of program that can't (or won't, but usually can't) afford $3 million per year in salary for your head coach, most big-time programs still have to shell out for their head guy. It's funny -- a coaching salary of $700,000 at a power conference program is looked on as chump change, but when you really think about it, it's hard to consider any salary with that many zeros behind it a "bargain."
Still, relative to their peers, some coaches do more with with slightly less. Big 12 Hoops ran the numbers on the Big 12's coaches in 2009-10 and divided each coach's salary by the number of wins its team notched last season. The result? Scott Drew and Frank Martin were capital-b Bargains.
Martin made $760,000 last season. His team won 29 games. In effect, Kansas State paid $26,206 for each Wildcats win, the lowest figure in the conference. Drew was the second-cheapest; at a yearly salary of $900,000, Drew's 28 wins cost Baylor $32,142 each.
The expensive coaches in the Big 12 last season include a few names you might assume. Bill Self's $3 million salary means that no matter how many games he wins, he'll finish near the top of this list. At $90,909 per win, Self finished second. Rick Barnes came in at third with $83,333 per win. The most expensive coach award goes to Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, whose combination of salary ($1.5 million) and dreadful post-Blake Griffin season (13-18) means OU paid $115,384 for each of its infrequent victories.
All of which is to say: No win is cheap in college basketball. Some wins cost you a teacher's salary. Some wins cost you an investment banker's income. All of them cost something. Fortunately, the capitalist college basketball market values those wins highly enough to make the investment worthwhile. Otherwise, all this would seem even more ridiculous than it already is.