Kansas coach Bill Self signs richest college basketball contract ever given by a public university

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self signed a lifetime contract Tuesday that will pay him $53 million over the first five years, easily surpassing Kentucky coach John Calipari for the richest deal ever given to a college basketball coach at a public university.

Self will make more than $11 million this season in base pay, professional services and royalties along with a one-time signing bonus and retention payments, including some that were deferred amid the pandemic. At the conclusion of each year, another year is added to the deal, and Self will earn a one-time, $5 million retention bonus if he serves out the first five.

The deal amends a similarly structured contract Self signed in 2021, and includes a provision allowing the renegotiation of terms after the 2025-26 season. Calipari's deal with the Wildcats pays him $8.5 million this season.

“Bill Self is undoubtedly the most consistent coach in college basketball, and a restructuring of his contract terms were long overdue,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said. “In an ever-changing collegiate athletics environment, our strong commitment to Coach Self positions KU basketball to maintain and enhance its status as the most storied program in the country."

The top-ranked Jayhawks, led by Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, routed North Carolina Central on Monday night to open the season. They play Manhattan on Friday before facing Calipari and his Wildcats in the Champions Classic next week.

“There has never been a better time to be a part of our athletic department,” Self said. “My family and I are so proud to be at this university, and I am looking forward to many more seasons representing the most passionate fan base in the country.”

The contract includes incentives that could drive the value significantly higher. Self would earn $50,000 for a Big 12 regular-season title, another $50,000 if he is Big 12 coach of the year and $25,000 for winning the conference tournament. He also would earn $50,000 for an NCAA Tournament appearance, $100,000 for making the Sweet 16, $150,000 for reaching the Final Four and $200,000 for winning another national championship.

The amended deal comes a month after Self and the Jayhawks avoided serious penalties resulting from a 2017 investigation by the FBI into college basketball corruption. An independent appeals panel stripped them of their 2018 Final Four appearance but downgraded five Level I violations — considered the most severe — to three Level II and the rest Level III violations.

Like his previous agreement, which said Self could not be fired for cause “due to any current infractions matter that involves conduct on or prior to” its signing, the amended contract states that Self cannot be terminated for cause “due to an infractions matter that arises from the same set of operative facts" that were considered by the panel.

Self arrived at Kansas from Illinois in 2003 to replace Roy Williams, who had left for North Carolina, and has since won 566 games to lead all active Power 5 coaches. He has 773 wins over his coaching career, including two national championships and 20 conference titles, and twice he has been voted AP national coach of the year.

Last season, Self was hospitalized on the eve of the Big 12 Tournament and wound up needing a valve replaced in his heart. He missed not only the conference tournament but the NCAA Tournament, where the Jayhawks lost in the second round.

His team could go a whole lot deeper this season.

The Jayhawks returned a trio of starters from last year's team — Dajuan Harris Jr., KJ Adams and Kevin McCullar Jr. — while signing a touted freshman class led by Elmarko Jackson and bringing in a trio of high-profile transfers.

The biggest of them, both literally and figuratively, is the 7-foot-2 Dickinson, perhaps the most sought-after player ever to enter the portal. He had 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks in only 24 minutes on Monday night.

“For more than 20 years, Coach Self has embodied the spirit and tradition of the University of Kansas, leading our men’s basketball program to unprecedented success,” Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod said. “We feel he’s the best coach in the country and he cares deeply about this place. We are thrilled that he will be a Jayhawk for the rest of his career.”


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