Berry Tramel: If OU wants Buzz Williams, it will have to pay

The going rate for big-time college basketball coaches is $2 million a year. Will the Sooners pay up?
by Berry Tramel Published: March 22, 2011

Where you shop depends on how much you have to spend.

Got 10 bucks to spend on a pair of shoes? Avoid Nichols Hills. Try the Old Paris flea market.

Got $1,000 to spend on a car? Don't bother with Eskridge Lexus. I'll cut you a deal on my '91 Nissan truck.

Got $1 million a year to spend on a basketball coach? Forget Buzz Williams. Head to the mid-major rack.

But indications are OU won't skimp on this hire. OU people in position of influence have told me the Sooners are ready to pony up. Ready to pay as much as $2 million a year to get their man. And it's looking more and more like that man is Buzz, who some say is ready to return to his Southwestern roots even though he has his Marquette Golden Eagles in the Sweet 16.

Williams reportedly is making $1.5 million at Marquette. How much is OU willing to spend? Without going past $1.5 million, and maybe well past, there's no reason to shoot for a big-name, high-profile, proven winner. You won't get him.

Dozens of college coaches make more than $1 million. The big names make more than $2 million. Six Big 12 coaches make at least $1.5 million; that's six out of nine, since Colorado (Tad Boyle $590,000) and Nebraska (Doc Sadler $850,000) are leaving the league and the Oklahoma job is open.

OU does not want to be, and should not be, on the bottom end of Big 12 hoop salaries.

I know, $2 million annually is crazy money. You can't make it work financially no matter what kind of magic pencil you use.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Coaching salaries

The salaries for the nation's 10 highest-paid coaches and the Big 12's coaches, based on a variety of reports:

HIGHEST-PAID

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke, $4.1M

2. John Calipari, Kentucky, $4M

2. Rick Pitino, Louisville, $4M

4. Bill Self, Kansas, $3.6M

5. Tom Izzo, Michigan State, $3.4M

6. Billy Donovan, Florida, $3.3M

7. Thad Matta, Ohio State, $2.5M

8. Sean Miller, Arizona, $2.3M

9. Rick Barnes, Texas, $2.2M

10. Roy Williams, North Carolina, $2M

10. Ben Howland, UCLA, $2M

BIG 12

1. Bill Self, Kansas, $3.6M

2. Rick Barnes, Texas, $2.2M

3. Mike Anderson, Missouri, $2M

4. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State, $1.8M

5. Frank Martin, Kansas State, $1.5M

6. Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M, $1.5M

7. Scott Drew, Baylor, $900,000

8. Doc Sadler, Nebraska, $850,000

9. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State, $800,000

10. Tad Boyle, Colorado, $590,000

* The salary for Billy Gillispie, hired this week at Texas Tech, has not been announced.

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