Women's basketball has come close to breaking through the glass ceiling and becoming a mainstream sport. While the sport does not yet have the drawing power of men's basketball, women basketball players compete at a high level and are led by highly skilled coaches who have mastered recruiting, gameplanning and motivational tactics. The top coaches in the game are among the highest paid coaches in the sport.
Pat Summitt of Tennessee is the highest paid women's basketball coach. Her annual compensation is $1.125 million per year in base salary. She has been the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols since the 1974 season. In addition to her longevity, Summitt is widely regarded as one of the top teachers and motivators in the sport. Her Lady Vols have won eight NCAA championships and 16 Southeastern Conference titles.
Geno Auriemma of Connecticut has built one of the dominant programs in women's college basketball and is the only coach who can compare with Pat Summitt in terms of accomplishment. Auriemma earns $988,000 per year in base salary, and incentives put his pay well over the $1 million mark. Auriemma's UConn Lady Huskies have won seven national championships and completed a record 90-game winning streak from 2008 through 2010.
Sherri Coale of Oklahoma also ranks with the highest paid coaches in women's basketball. Receiving a base salary of $550,000, additional bonuses and incentives could earn her more than $700,000. Coale has been the head coach of the Lady Sooners since the 1996-97 season and has built a consistent winner. Her team has been to the NCAA tournament for 11 consecutive seasons heading into 2010-11.
Robin Pingeton of Missouri joined the Tigers prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after a successful run at Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference. Pingeton has a base salary of $300,000 and incentives could push her salary up to $600,000 per year. Pingeton began her head coaching career with an eight-year run at St. Ambrose University. After three years as an assistant at Iowa State, she led Illinois State for seven years before getting her opportunity with the Lady Tigers.