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John Calipari
AP Photo/Wade Payne

When it comes to college football, everyone knows the Southeastern Conference is strong. SEC baseball is obviously great, too. However, basketball has certainly flexed its muscles lately and proven it belongs in the conversation as the best league in the entire country.

The NCAA Tournament is the most wonderful time of the year, but what happens before it is pretty great. That’s when USA Today releases its annual college coaching survey and salary database when the world can be reminded how much money these men get paid and what it would actually take to fire them.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is still the king of college basketball money with his annual compensation for the 2018-19 season at $9,276,643, but Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski ($7,048,206), Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo ($4,157,562), Virginia head coach Tony Bennett ($4,150,000), and Kansas head coach Bill Self ($4,066,857) make a pretty penny as well.

RELATED: Would John Calipari Ever Leave Kentucky? Not With This Salary.

In regards to the biggest buyouts as of April 1, 2019, Calipari is still the king at $25 million, but Bennett, Indiana’s Archie Miller, Ohio State’s Chris Holtman, Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Self, Georgia’s Tom Crean, and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall would all be owed at least $15 million to pack their bags

So how much do SEC coaches make in annual salary? What would it cost to fire them, if anything? Let’s break it down:

Biggest Total Pay in 2018-19

1. John Calipari (Kentucky Wildcats) — $9.2 Million
2. Rick Barnes (Tennessee Volunteers) — $3.25 Million
3. Tom Crean (Georgia Bulldogs) — $3.2 Million
4. Avery Johnson (Alabama Crimson Tide) — $3 Million
5. Frank Martin (South Carolina Gamecocks) — $2.95 Million
6. Cuonzo Martin (Missouri Tigers) — $2.8 Million
7. Mike White (Florida Gators) — $2.61 Million
8. Bruce Pearl (Auburn Tigers) — $2.6 Million
9. Mike Anderson (Arkansas Razorbacks) — $2.55 Million
T-10. Will Wade (LSU Tigers) — $2.5 Million
T-10. Kermit Davis (Ole Miss Rebels) — $2.5 Million
12. Billy Kennedy (Texas A&M Aggies) — $2.45 Million
13. Ben Howland (Mississippi State Bulldogs) — $2.2 Million
14. Bryce Drew (Vanderbilt) — $2.04 Million

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Biggest School Buyouts

1. John Calipari$25 Million
2. Tom Crean$16 Million
3. Frank Martin$12.6 Million
4. Will Wade$10.6 Million
5. Avery Johnson$8 Million
6. Mike White$7.07 Million
7. Bruce Pearl $6.025 Million
8. Rick Barnes$5.04 Million
9. Billy Kennedy$3.5 Million
10. Mike Anderson$2.98 Million
T-11. Cuonzo MartinNone
T-11. Kermit DavisNone
T-11. Ben HowlandNone
T-11. Bryce DrewNone

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Unless something drastic happens, most of these SEC coaches are safe. Some might even get a However, there is always a possibility for something crazy to happen after the NCAA Tournament and Final Four that would force several SEC schools to make a move and open their wallets to pay their basketball coach for just walking out of the door.

READ MORE: The All-Coaches Starting 5 Would Wreck Any Team, Any Time

Author placeholder image About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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