Mike Krzyzewski was credited with nearly $13.7 million in total compensation for 2020, his penultimate full calendar year as Duke’s men’s basketball coach, the university’s new federal tax returns show.
The document — provided by the school in response to a request from USA TODAY Sports — shows Krzyzewski with nearly $3.3 million in base salary, $2 million in bonus pay, just over $7.2 million in other reportable compensation and more than $1.1 million in retirement and other deferred compensation.
The total amount includes nearly $1.3 million that had been reported as deferred pay on prior years’ returns, meaning his net compensation for 2020 was about $12.4 million.
That amount is the largest single-year pay for a college sports coach not connected to a buyout since USA TODAY Sports began tracking coaches’ pay in 2006. Alabama football coach Nick Saban received $11.1 million in 2017, an amount that included a $4 million signing bonus; that season, Saban added $500,000 in incentive bonuses to that total.
Krzyzewski retired after this past season as college basketball's all-time leader in victories and with five NCAA championships.
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Duke is among a group of public and private universities that earlier this year received a letter from Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., requesting information about their coaches' pay and raising questions about how their athletics programs fit with the educational mission that allows them to have tax-exempt status.
“Booing Duke University sports teams is itself one of the most popular pastimes in America. But Blue Devils’ fans and foes alike should be skeptical about how federal tax breaks might be utilized to help pay over $13 million for one season of work," Pascrell, who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. "We are continuing our congressional probe and spotlight into coaching contracts and our tax laws because Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned money is being used to subsidize millionaire coaches.”
On each of Duke's past four tax returns, Krzyzewski's pay total was reported as being between $7 million and $7.4 million, with $1.2 million to $1.3 million each year having been reported as deferred on prior years' returns.
As a private school, Duke is not required to make its employment contracts public. It is set up as a private, non-profit organization. Under IRS rules, such entities must report compensation data based on the calendar year completed during the fiscal year covered by the return — in Duke's case, a fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.
Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports:
"Mike Krzyzewski is the most successful college basketball coach in history whose record and accomplishments will probably never be matched. 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."
Referencing the $7.2 million in other reportable compensation amount and the amount reported in a prior year, Schoenfeld wrote: "This report includes a one-time payment of deferred compensation … that was accrued over prior years. It also includes compensation that was paid out in 2020 but was also reported on a prior (return) when it was accrued."
The compensation of college coaches has drawn recent attention from some members of Congress. Pascrell announced in December that he had written letters to the presidents of LSU and the University of Southern California raising questions about how their athletics programs are "furthering the educational purposes" for which the schools receive tax-exempt status.
Those letters came in the wake of those schools’ respective football coaching hires of Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame and Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. Pascrell subsequently sent similar letters, seeking written responses, from Michigan State, Miami, Stanford and Rutgers concerning their football coaches' compensation.
In March, he sent letters concerning men's basketball coaches' pay to Auburn, Villanova and Duke.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Krzyzewski credited with $13.7M in pay for 2020 calendar year