I wrote this back in 2010 and have resurrected it with the news that Dan Hurley, currently the coach of defending NCAA basketball champions University of Connecticut, is talking with the Los Angeles Lakers about their open head coaching job. Regardless of how you slice this, life decision, career decision, ambition decision, or money decision, the money involved is a life changing salary. Coach Hurley, similar to Coach K as discussed in 2010, earns a salary the majority of us will never attain. Its a good salary. But he is now going to be offered money 99% of us cannot even imagine earning. As I tuck in later in the below piece – “you have to listen.”That said. My real point is that we often talk about how life is more than money, a career is more than money, and, well, money isn’t everything. All true; until is not. Sometimes the money is so ‘more’ that it suffocates all the other possible ‘mores.’ Ponder.


According to multiple media sources, the Russian billionaire (and owner of the NBA Nets) Prokhorov wanted to make a big splash by hiring Mike Krzyzewski as coach and GM (he has since turned them down). According to the report, Prokhorov was prepared to offer him $12-15 million (salary without extras) per season. Mike Krzyzewski’s 2009 salary as coach of the Duke Blue Devil’s men’s basketball team is $3.5 million.bag of money

When I read about this I started thinking about life changing career decisions. And mostly ones based on money. All I really can say to Coach K is if Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to pay that much, well Coach K, you should probably listen to the Nets’ job offer. Listening doesn’t cost a thing.

Because this is life changing money.

Look. Have I ever been offered 15 million a year? Nope.

But have I ever been offered twice or maybe 3 times as much as I was earning for a new job? Yup.

One sports announcer said “How could you not even at least consider it?  Its life changing”.

Now. To us little people it’s hard for us to fathom 3.5 million to 15 million (plus extras on both) as life changing. But 30k to 150k. Or 100k to 350k. Or 150k to 500k. You get it.

Yes. It is life changing. And it makes you evaluate what is important to you. And some people will argue “I will do it so that it frees me up to do something else later on.” And that kind of logic is as good as any I have heard. But. In the end. It is most often a life changing decision. And not just moneywise.

I did it once. I took the money. And it was wrong for me (that’s a personal decision and I am not suggesting everyone should think of it the same way). I ended up quitting to do what I felt was right for me.

Yes. I sacrificed a lot of money.

Yes. I thought about it afterwards.

Yes. I made the right decision (for me).

But that decision helped clarify some later decisions. And made some following similar decisions a little easier. But. Not easy … just easier.

Why just easier (and not making everything clearer down the road)?

Because Life changing money is just that. Life changing. And no matter how good you felt about the last decision you made if and when the next one rolls around a lot of money is a lot of money.

Should Coach k have listened?  Sure. Listening never hurts. Should he have taken it?  Well. That ain’t for me to say. He is a great college coach. I would envision just like the rest of us he thinks about what’s next when you have existing success. And then all the rest of things get put into the decision blender and you come out with a decision.

I guess my point here is about life changing money decisions. It is easy to say life and career is more than about money. That is until someone offers you double or triple or more what you are currently earning. Then money makes you forget about a lot of other things.

Coach K passed on this one. Does falling back on 3.5 million a year make it easier? Sure. I am sure it does. But 15 million is 15 million.

Making 4 times what you are already earning?

Gosh. Even at the most measly salary level that would make anyone pause and think.

Suffice it to say career choices, and decisions, are life decisions. Do not ever fool yourself into believing anything else. They are so intertwined it is difficult to separate. Especially when money is involved.

Written by Bruce