Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer becomes one of highest paid women's coaches
STARKVILLE — Losing in the national championship game two years in a row is agonizing, heartbreaking and deflating. Ask Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer, who took the brunt of the blame for the Bulldogs’ 61-58 loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA title game in April.
“… I didn’t get them home today,” Schaefer said after his team blew a 15-point third quarter lead. “I’ll wear that for maybe the rest of my career.”
Monday brought Schaefer some consolation and plenty more chances to bring the Bulldogs home. He inked a four-year contract extension with MSU that makes him one of the highest paid women’s basketball coaches in the country.
Schaefer’s new deal earns him a total compensation of $6,384,000, or an average of $1,596,000 per year. Schaefer’s salary eclipses that of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley ($1.45 million per year) for the highest number in the SEC. Staley’s squad edged Schaefer’s, 67-55, in the 2017 national title game.
Before reaching that game, Mississippi State knocked out the four-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies in a Final Four thriller. Geno Auriemma and Uconn set the gold standard in nearly everything in women’s hoops, including head coaching salaries. Schaefer’s new contract doesn’t leave him far behind, though – Auriemma is the highest-paid head coach at $2.4 million per year.
Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, who has won two championships at Baylor, earned $1.85 in base pay in 2016, according to USA Today. UConn, South Carolina and Baylor have been three of the nation’s best programs for years. Now, by virtue of both wins on the court and zeros in the head coach’s bank account, Mississippi State belongs in the nation’s top tier.
“Coach Schaefer has elevated our women’s basketball program to an elite level,” athletic director John Cohen said. “We look forward to seeing our national coach of the year on the sidelines for a long time to come.”
Schaefer is set to enter his seventh season in Starkville. His sixth was better than any other in program history. The Bulldogs compiled a 37-2 record, including a flawless 16-0 regular season conference campaign and a perfect 18-0 inside Humphrey Coliseum. Those figures locked up Naismith National Coach of the Year honors for Schaefer.
MSU has seen steady improvement over all of Schaefer’s six seasons at the helm, coming a long way from his inaugural 13-17 campaign. Mississippi State has reached the NCAA Tournament 10 times. Schaefer is responsible for four of them. The Bulldogs had never even reached the Elite Eight until he took them there in 2017.
With new boxes being checked year after year, there are only two left unfilled. MSU has lost to South Carolina in each of the last three SEC Tournaments, leaving the Bulldogs without a conference tournament crown. Everybody knows what the other is. New contract signed and heartbreak behind him, Schaefer is ready to cross them both off the list.
“We are excited about extending our quest of winning SEC and National Championships and extending the success of recent years,” Schaefer said. “I convey my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to my dedicated and talented staff, to my high-achieving student-athletes and to the enthusiastic fan support of Bulldogs across the country.”