Reports: John Calipari near deal to coach at Arkansas

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 08 Apr, 2024 at 05:25 AM

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari reportedly is closing on a five-year contract to become the next men's basketball coach of Arkansas, ending his time with Kentucky.

The future of the 65-year-old Calipari, who has been at Kentucky for 15 years, has been the subject of speculation since his third-seeded Wildcats lost to 14th-seeded Oakland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 21.

Calipari is under contract with Kentucky through the 2028-29 season but can exit without paying the school a buyout, The Athletic reported Sunday. He would have been due $33 million had he been fired.

ESPN reported that Calipari's base salary at Arkansas would fall just short of the $8.5 million he received at Kentucky, but that incentives would enable him to top that figure.

The reports pointed to Calipari's ties to a Razorbacks booster, billionaire John H. Tyson, whom the coach has called a "longtime friend."

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman departed the program last week for USC.

Under Calipari, Kentucky won the national title in 2012 and advanced to three other Final Fours in his first six seasons there. The Wildcats, however, have won just one NCAA Tournament game since making the Elite Eight in 2018-19.

He also led Memphis, where he coached for nine seasons, to the title game in 2008, and took UMass (eight seasons) to the Final Four in 1996. He has an overall college coaching record of 855-263 in 32 seasons, according to Sports Reference.

Calipari also coached the then-New Jersey Nets in the NBA from 1996-99.

--Field Level Media