While the rest of the sports world was joking around on April Fools day, Kentucky’s basketball program was making a serious business proposition.
And no this is not an April Fools joke. UCLA asked Kentucky for permission to speak to Calipari and it was granted.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) April 1, 2019
But UCLA did not seem to sway Calipari’s mind…
“Where else would I want to coach?” the Kentucky men’s basketball coach said as he agreed to finish his career with the Wildcats on Monday night.
John Calipari has agreed to a lifetime deal that ensures he finishes career with the Wildcats pic.twitter.com/w945sBdtSR
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 1, 2019
John Calipari’s current contract with the Wildcats run through 2024. As the highest paid coach in college basketball, Calipari will receive $9.2 million dollars this year in total compensation, according to the USA Today Sports database.
Kentucky’s coach was in contact with UCLA about the opening head-coach position. According to reports, UCLA offered him $48 million over six years. However, offers like this are common for the coach. But Kentucky and Calipari decided to finally put an end to this.
“There are people who call every year. But the reality of this is, this has been in the works for awhile,” Calipari said.
For Cal, coaching is more than just playing basketball. After spending years molding this program, he embraces the culture that has taken years to develop.
“The faith they have shown in me, I apreciate it. I’ve let them know that. This is a unique place and I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here. You know it’s one of those places that you have to want this to really be here. You can’t shy from any of the stuff that goes on,” he said.
Reports say the coach’s contract will extend to his retirement. Then he will serve a lifetime role as an ambassador to UK.
Calipari’s time at Kentucky
Since coming to the program in 2009, Calipari has a 305-71 record with the Cats. The 60-year-old head coach went 30-7 this season in which his team earned the 2-seed spot in the NCAA Tournament. However, Wildcats lost 77-71 to Auburn in the Elite Eight.
While his team did not advance to the Final Four this year, Calipari led his team to four Final Four appearances (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). In 2012, the Wildcats came back to Lexington with a championship.