Is Mike Woodson’s 44-26 overall record and 2-2 mark in the NCAA Tournament good enough to earn him a top-10 salary in college basketball?
IU thinks so. And there’s more to that than his winning percentage so far.
Woodson now ranks tied for No. 8 in the country in total pay after being rewarded with a $1 million raise announced by the school on Friday.
In the Big Ten, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo leads the way at around $6.2 million per year. You might expect Purdue’s Matt Painter to be second, but instead it’s Illinois’ Brad Underwood, who makes $4.6 million according to some reports, or is now tied with Woodson at around $4.2 million per year according to others. Woodson has won three straight vs. Underwood.
Even when four new schools join the Big Ten in 2024, Woodson should remain in the same spot in the league. UCLA’s Mick Cronin is the highest paid coach of the newcomers next year, and he’s just behind Woodson at $4.1 million per year.
Nationally, Woodson now trails just seven coaches, and four of them have won a national title. John Calipari (Kentucky), Izzo, Bill Self (Kansas), Rick Barnes (Tennessee), Bruce Pearl (Auburn), Kelvin Sampson (Houston) and Tony Bennett (Virginia) make up the current top seven.
While Woodson has returned IU to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row after a lengthy March Madness drought, there have been factors beyond wins and losses that likely contributed to IU’s decision.
He led IU to a second place tie in the 2023 Big Ten race despite losing his starting point guard just a third of the way into the season. That was IU’s best league finish in seven years.
Woodson helped place two players in the NBA Draft after the program saw no one drafted for three straight years.
He also has landed back-to-back top-20 recruiting classes in 2022 and 2023, and both groups were top three in the Big Ten.
And perhaps just as important, Woodson appears to have a good chance to continue his recruiting success with the 2024 class. While IU has no 2024 commits to this point, Woodson will have had 12 of the current national top-50 prospects (according to the On3 Industry Average) in for visits to Bloomington by the end of the month, far more than what the program has drawn to campus in any other year in recent history. Five top-50 players in the 2024 class are scheduled to visit in September alone.
Finally, there’s this — Woodson leads one of the top brands in college basketball. Leading top brands pays more in any profession. Being the head coach at IU comes with significant expectations and responsibility. It should be one of the top paying jobs in the country, and it now is.
So no, Woodson didn’t get a big raise because he’s won 62.8 percent of his games so far at Indiana. He got it because he has the program trending favorably, and the market demands it.
But now he does have to demonstrate that his pay is commensurate with the product on the floor. And that means locking up another solid recruiting class in 2024, and winning consistently at a higher rate.
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