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Kentucky assistant coach now has million-dollar contract

May 7, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

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On Wednesday morning, Kentucky announced that the program had signed John Calipari’s three assistant coaches to two-year contracts.

In doing so, Kentucky set the bar for just how much a coaching staff an make in the collegiate ranks.

Kenny Payne, who was promoted to associate head coach, now has a deal with $1 million. He won’t be making that annually — it will be spread out over the two years of his contract — but there are a number of head coaches at NCAA tournament-caliber programs that don’t make that much money. Payne was already making $350,000 annually before he got his $150,000 raise.

John Robic, who has been on staff with Calipari for 15 seasons at UMass, Memphis and now Kentucky, will be making $375,000 a year, as will newly-hired Barry Rohrssen. Rohrssen replaced new South Florida head coach Orlando Antigua, who made $275,000 last season.

The numbers are staggering, and they will surely make folks wonder how a program can afford to pay coaches that much without being able to scrape together full cost-of-attendance scholarships for the athletes. But this is Kentucky. That program is as flush as flush can get. If it was allowed, Cal would certainly make sure that his players got what they deserved.

And, to be frank, the job that his staff has done means that they have earned those salaries. Once Julius Randle and James Young get drafted this year, that will bring the total to 19 Kentucky players getting drafted in his tenure in Lexington. That’s not bad.

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