The moment Dawn Staley climbed atop a ladder in Albany on Sunday, cutting down yet another net to head to yet another Final Four, a bonus kicked in for the longtime Gamecocks’ coach.

The top overall-seed, South Carolina (36-0) is two wins away from a perfect season and the program’s third national championship. The Gamecocks will play 3-seed N.C. State on Friday for a spot in the title game.

On Sunday, though, South Carolina’s 70-58 victory over Oregon State in the Elite Eight meant the Gamecocks were heading to the program’s sixth Final Four in less than a decade.

Dawn Staley hits contract bonus milestone with Final Four. A bigger payday is possible

For Staley, it meant another incentive met.

The 16th-year head coach earns a little bit extra for every NCAA Tournament win. She receives $25,000 for the Gamecocks simply making the Big Dance.

That number jumps to $50,000 if USC makes the Sweet Sixteen, $100,000 if it gets to the Elite Eight and it rises to $250,000 for earning a Final Four spot.

If South Carolina wins the national championship this weekend, Staley’s bonus will double to $500,000.

The Final Four run also means some extra cash for Staley’s assistant coaches.

They earned a bonus of one month’s worth of their base salary for the Gamecocks simply making the tournament and will receive another month’s worth of pay for USC making the Final Four. (They won’t earn any more if the Gamecocks win the whole thing.)

For South Carolina associate head coach Lisa Boyer, who makes $400,000 annually, that’s just under $67,000.

For Staley, though, her contract is laden with other incentives — nearly all of of which she has hit, including:

$15,000 for winning 11 or more SEC regular season games (USC went a 16-0).

$15,000 for finishing in the Top 25 of the AP or Coaches Poll.

$100,000 for winning both the SEC Regular Season Championship and the SEC Tournament Championship.

$25,000 for being named the SEC Coach of the Year (She’ll make an additional $25,000 if she’s named the Naismith of AP National Coach of the Year).

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If South Carolina wins the national championship and Staley is named coach of the year, she’ll have checked every box and cashed in on the full $680,000 of possible performance compensation.

Last season, after the Gamecocks fell in the Final Four to Iowa, Staley’s bonuses equaled $430,000.

Staley, in the third year of a seven-year, $22.4-million contract she signed in 2021, made $3.1 this season. Her salary increases $100,000 annually until the contract runs out following the 2027-28 season.

She is one of three women’s basketball coaches in America making over $3 million. UConn coach Geno Auriemma also makes $3.1 million, though he can only earn $375,000 in bonuses.

And LSU’s Kim Mulkey brings in $3.26 million and can tack on an extra $750,000 with performance incentives.

This story was originally published April 2, 2024, 7:30 AM.