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Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari in 2014 (Wikipedia) Author: Keith Allison

Basketball Coach John Calipari Agrees To Lifetime Deal With Kentucky

John Calipari has agreed to a long-term contract extension with the University of Kentucky and will remain their basketball coach, it was reported Monday. The contract will essentially be a lifetime deal, ensuring that he retires with the Wildcats.

Wildcats Hire Coach Calipari For Life

The new contract comes days after Kentucky fell to No. 5 Auburn, who were without their star player, in the Elite Eight of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. UCLA was also in pursuit of Calipari after they fired their basketball coach this season. While details of his contract extension are murky, UCLA reportedly offered him a six-year, $48 million dollar contract, which he turned down.

“They presented it to me and I appreciate it,” Calipari said on his radio show Monday night. “They want me to be here until I’m done coaching. This is a unique place and I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here.”

The deal is expected to include a ten-year extension as head coach, followed by a role as a paid ambassador for the program when he steps away from coaching.

Since joining Kentucky, the school has the most wins, most tournament wins, most final four appearances and has produced the most lottery draft picks in the NCAA Divison I.


However, in recent years, Calipari’s Kentucky squads have faltered. His last four seasons include 0 national titles, 0 Final Fours, and only four weeks atop the AP Top 25 Poll. Producing only one championship in a decade with the program also raises some concerns.

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Calipari, at 60, is already the highest-paid basketball coach in the country, making $9.2 million this year, according to the USA Today Sports database. His current contract doesn’t expire until 2024. He told UCLA that he has no desire to leave the Wildcats.

“You think of what we have built, the culture of what we built here. We’ve done it all kinds of different ways. … This is a situation and culture that has taken time to build. So where else would I want to coach?” he said.

Calipari has a 305-71 record since taking over at Kentucky in 2009, leading the Wildcats to Final Fours in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, and to the NCAA Championship in 2012.

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Written by Bill Piersa