The Kentucky Wildcats fell to the Auburn Tigers in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup, but one day into the offseason was all it took to drag Big Blue nation into the coaching carousel.
UCLA, whose coaching search has been broadcasted as any, reportedly asked Kentucky for permission to speak with John Calipari about their open head coaching slot, according to Seth Davis of The Athletic. Permission was granted, but not without a godfather offer from the Wildcats.
While Kentucky gave UCLA the go-ahead to speak with Coach Cal, they made sure to top whatever potential deal came his way. Following the report of UCLA approaching the 60-year-old head coach, Kentucky offered Calipari a “lifetime contract in order to fend off interest from UCLA”, per the Athletic.
UCLA offered Calipari a six-year deal worth approximately $48 million, according to the same report from The Athletic, but it wasn’t enough. Fast forward four hours and the deal with the Wildcats was done.
Calipari agreed to a contract with Kentucky that will allow him to “finish his career at Kentucky”, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
As Goodman notes, it was rather unlikely that Calipari would leave for another college job, but the chances of an NBA gig still loom. It would have to be just right, as Coach Cal’s first NBA stint did not go as planned.
Pending an April Fools’ Day punchline, Calipari will be at Kentucky for the remainder of his college coaching career, while UCLA continues to ride the coaching carousel.
Either way, Monday was a great day for crafty businessman John Calipari.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images