How much is the Gamecock administration shelling out for one of the best coaches in the game? Boardroom dives into the Dawn Staley contract at South Carolina.
That’s the situation South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley finds herself in as she tries to lead her undefeated Gamecocks to their second straight title. If successful, it would also be South Carolina’s third championship in team history — all under Staley. She’s won nearly 80% of her games as Gamecocks head coach, bringing them to four Final Fours (and counting) and winning seven SEC regular season titles.
All told, Staley has earned every penny that the university is paying her. But how much is that exactly? Boardroom dives into the Dawn Staley contract at South Carolina.
Dawn Staley Contract and Salary Breakdown at South Carolina
Term: Through 2027-28 season
Base Salary: $1,000,000
Dawn Staley Outside Compensation By Year
Staley is the highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball, and rightfully so. Her base salary and outside compensation total $3 million this season, and when you throw in a $300,000 split-dollar life insurance contribution, her total pay comes out to $3.3 million. That will increase by $100,000 every year through the term of her contract unless it is bought out or reworked in the meantime. Altogether, Staley has $19.8 million remaining on her contract, including her compensation for this season. The above totals do not include potential bonuses, which will allow Staley to clean up even more, as long as her teams keep winning.
Staley’s contract gives her the opportunity to earn hundreds of thousands in additional compensation each year. Her bonuses are broken into five categories: SEC regular season, SEC championships, NCAA Tournament, Coach of the Year awards, and Top 25 rankings. In total, here’s what she can earn:
SEC Regular Season:
If South Carolina wins 11 or more SEC regular season games in its current 16-game format, Staley will receive an additional $15,000.
Staley can earn one of the following bonuses, whichever is greatest:
- $75,000 for winning the SEC regular season
- $50,000 for winning the SEC Tournament
- $100,000 for winning both
Keep an eye on this section as the Gamecocks navigate March Madness. Staley can earn the greatest of the following options:
- $25,000 for reaching the NCAA Tournament
- $50,000 for reaching the Sweet 16
- $100,000 for reaching the Elite Eight
- $250,000 for reaching the Final Four
- $500,000 for winning the National Championship
Coach of the Year:
If the AP or her fellow coaches recognize Staley as the coach of the year, either in the SEC or nationally, she will earn the following:
- $25,000 for being named SEC coach of the year by the AP or SEC coaches AND
- $25,000 for winning national coach of the year, by the AP, Naismith committee, or both
Top 25 Ranking:
If South Carolina is ranked in the AP Poll, Coaches Poll, or both at the end of the season, Staley will earn an additional $15,000.
Dawn Staley Buyout Details
It seems absurd right now that Staley will ever not be the head coach at South Carolina — for however long she wants to stay in the game. But circumstances change, so Staley’s contract has an outline for what could happen if she is either fired without cause or elects to leave the job for another opportunity.
Termination Without Cause
No, this is nothing anyone has to worry about any time soon. BUT LET’S JUST SAY South Carolina loses in the championship game this year and the administration decides one loss in a season is entirely too many. Here is what the university would owe her, depending on when she is let go:
- Until April 15, 2023: $2,500,000
- 4/16/23-4/15/24: $2,000,000
- 4/16/24-4/15/25: $1,500,000
- 4/16/25-4/15/26: $1,000,000
- 4/16/26-4/15/27: $500,000
- 4/16/27-4/15/28: $250,000
Termination By Coach
Also unlikely, but slightly closer to what one might consider possible. In this scenario, Staley terminates the contract early, most likely to take a job elsewhere. Here’s what she (or her new employer) would owe the university in such a case:
- Until 4/15/23: $4,500,000
- 4/16/23-4/15/24: $4,000,000
- 4/16/24-4/15/25: $3,500,000
- 4/16/25-4/15/26: $3,000,000
- 4/16/26-4/15/27: $2,500,000
- 4/16/27-4/15/28: $2,000,000
In addition to her pay, bonuses, and the security that a buyout would provide, Staley is entitled to a number of perks from the university. Those perks include:
- 2 university-provided automobiles on a loan basis
- Country club membership
- 16 executive suite tickets and 14 additional tickets to all women’s basketball home games
- Four tickets to each regular season men’s basketball game
- Four tickets and two sideline passes to each home football game
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