Matt Painter has quietly gone about his business successfully as Purdue basketball’s head coach. He took over for the legendary Gene Keady in 2005 after a season as Keady’s associate head coach, and Painter’s also a former guard for the Boilermakers from the late 80s and early 90s.
Over the last 14 seasons, Painter has won 3 Big Ten regular-season championships, including a tie with Michigan State this past season. He’s in his fifth Sweet 16, as his Boilermakers are currently leading the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half of the South Regional semifinals.
Should Purdue hold on to its double-digit lead, it would mark the program’s first appearance in the Elite 8 since 2000. After about a decade and a half in the large shoes of Keady, Painter could finally have the Boilermakers in position for their first Final Four since 1980.
Even without the final result tonight, Painter has done plenty to earn a hefty salary. What exactly does he make?
According to USA Today Sports, he earns $2.825 million a year with his current contract. It ranks No. 25 out of all coaches in the country, just behind Maryland’s Mark Turgeon. The Terrapins bowed out last weekend in the Round of 32 to the East Region’s No. 3 seed LSU.
Compared to his Big Ten peers, Painter is right in the middle of earners. He trails Michigan State’s Tom Izzo ($4.1 million), Michigan’s John Beilein ($3.8 million), Indiana’s Archie Miller ($3.25 million), Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann ($3.01 million), Illinois’ Brad Underwood ($2.85 million), and Turgeon.
Miller and Underwood failed to make the NCAA Tournament this past season, while Purdue thrashed the Buckeyes by over 30 back in February.
The highest paid coach is Kentucky’s John Calipari at over $9 million. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is second at over $7 million. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo is third at $4.157 million.
There’s little incentive for Painter to leave for a more high-paying job, as he’s in the place of his mentor and at his alma mater. Tom Davis of the News Sentinel, the local paper, wrote a column last year when some fans expressed discontent over the team. He criticized that sentiment, indicating that Painter is a lifer.
Painter isn’t leaving West Lafayette anytime soon, nor does he want to, and nor does the Boilermaker leadership desire for that to happen.
But for those that are complaining about his leadership, it is imperative that you heed Arnie Bender’s lesson.
Purdue is blessed to have Painter and if/when he ultimately does step aside, he’s going to leave a hole the size of Mackey Arena in the hearts of the Boiler Nation. So be incredibly cautious in what you wish for.
In his career, Painter is 320-158. It may be 321 if his team holds on tonight.