To anyone with a career or who some day might just fancy one, there's no better sage of occupational advancement than University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Richard Pitino.
In years that can be counted on two hands, the 33-year-old son of fabled University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has gone from a College of Charleston administrative assistant subsisting on Ramen noodles to millionaire Big Ten hoops skipper flush with spoils.
Like his U of M peer football coach Jerry Kill, Pitino's job gravy is in the details.
Pitino makes a tidy $1.6 million annually, but he'll pocket an additional $450,000 "Contract Incentive Fulfillment" bonus in April 2016 and another 450k three years later just for staying employed as the school's Grand Poobah of hoops. How great is that? Almost a cool half mil just for showing up. Twice.
And of course, showing up requires transportation. Pitino drives a free "Wheel Club" vehicle compliments of the university. He recruits via private jet for trips more than 200 miles away from campus. As Pitino looks down at Minnesota from 22,000 feet, he racks up private jet costs averaging $3,100 per hour, according to the term in his contract that caps those jet expenses at $50,000 per fiscal year.
This guy is definitely doing his famous father proud even after last season's tepid 18 wins against 15 losses. About to enter his third year, Pitino's record at the U stands at 43-28.
For motivation to do better, the upstart coach must look no further than the various performance bonuses in his contract that can earn him about another $250,000.
Being named Big Ten Coach of the Year nets $25,000. Graduating 80 percent of his players brings another bonus of $75,000. If the players earn a cumulative team grade point average of at least 3.0, that's $25,000 more.
But what's life without balance? Lounging back at the family's million dollar Edina home with an endless wardrobe of maroon and gold leisure wear, Pitino can fill out his social calendar with a slew of tickets to various sporting events. There's six season tickets to Gopher home football games and four season passes for men's hockey. Tickets to any other university athletic events can be had just by asking.
Earlier this year, Pitino was said to be on the short list of names for the University of Alabama's vacant head coach job. It was early April when Pitino distanced himself from the rumors, saying he is "very happy" in his current job. A few months later, Pitino parlayed that public declaration of loyalty into a contract extension that came with a $400,000 yearly raise.
Like him or not, the guy knows how to leverage his position.