It's good to be Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Count the ways: Four-time national champion. Olympic gold medalist. FIBA world champion. One of only two Division I basketball coaches with 900 or more wins. Impending all-time NCAA Division I wins leader who currently trails mentor Bob Knight by two victories. Coach at one of the nation's true powerhouse programs. Fiscally compensated in kind.
Ah, but what does "in kind" actually mean? Put another way: What's Coach K's market value? According to Duke's IRS documents for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2010 -- obtained by the Associated Press Monday -- the answer is a cool $4.7 million, which Coach K made during 2009-10.
That is ... well, yeah. That's a lot of cash for a coach. Indeed, that figure ranks Coach K among the highest paid coaches in college hoops, if not the highest paid; the reported salary would seem to eclipse even Kentucky coach John Calipari, who signed an eight-year, $31.65 million deal with Big Blue Nation in 2009. Naturally, the salary also makes Coach K Duke's highest-paid employee. (Duke doesn't voluntarily disclose salary figures for professors, researchers, and the like, but one imagines the gap between Coach K and Top Duke Earner No. 2 is quite wide.)
This is usually the part where I'd feel the need to defend (or criticize) such an eye-popping salary, but come on: It's Coach K. Is that number a bit over the top? Sure. Relative to their company's/program's revenue, do CEOs make considerably less than college coaches? Yes. But in this case, the market is what it is. Few would argue Coach K isn't worth that much money to Duke. Given everything he's done in his three decades at the school, he might be worth even more.
And that, dear friends, is why so many young coaches put up with the things former Xavier assistant Pat Kelsey no longer wanted to put up with. When you make it in this game, man, do you ever make it.