Kim Mulkey is set to make some more history. Mulkey led the LSU Tigers to their first-ever NCAA women’s basketball national championship this spring, and the school now has agreed to terms with her on a 10-year, $32 million contract. The contract still needs to be approved by the LSU board of supervisors, which meets Friday, but in total value, that’s the richest contract in women’s basketball history. Reed Darcey of The (Baton Rouge) Advocate broke that news Wednesday night, obtaining that information through a public records request:
LSU expected to make Kim Mulkey highest-paid women's basketball coach in nation https://t.co/KqhPvWWPiU
— The Advocate (@theadvocatebr) September 7, 2023
Here’s more from that piece on the specifics of this contract:
The new 10-year, $32 million deal is pending final approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors, which meets Friday.
Mulkey’s previous contract was scheduled to pay her an average annual amount of $2.5 million until 2029.
The new deal will start at $2.75 million and escalate to $3.65 million by the final year, 2033.
It’s the largest contract ever signed by a women’s college basketball coach – by both its total amount and its final annual value.
As Darcey goes on to note, Mulkey won’t immediately be making more than other prominent coaches. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley signed a seven-year, $22.4 million extension in 2021, and UConn’s Geno Auriemma also signed a five-year $15 million extension (retroactive to 2020) through 2024-25 in 2021. Per M.A. Voepel of ESPN, both of those coaches made an estimated $3 million last year. But the average annual value of Mulkey’s contract is equal to Staley’s ($3.2 million per year) and above Auriemma’s ($3 million per year), and her total value and final season numbers are both higher (Staley is set to make $3.5 million in the final season of her deal). There are also incentives that can take Mulkey’s contract higher still, including $230,000 if she wins another title, bonuses for each round advanced in the NCAA Tournament, and bonuses for a high Academic Progress Rate. And it comes with a $2 million buyout.
If approved, Mulkey’s contract would be LSU’s second-highest coaching contract in annual average value. This would put her ahead of men’s basketball coach Matt McMahon, who signed a contract last year that averages $2.9 million, and baseball coach Jay Johnson (who also won a national title this year), whose 2021-signed deal averages $1.3 million per season. It would be behind only football coach Brian Kelly, who makes an average of $9.5 million per year on a 2022-signed contract that runs through the 2031 season.