April 1, 2019 / 8:34 PM / 3 months ago

Calipari accepts lifetime deal from Kentucky

John Calipari has agreed to a long-term contract to remain men’s basketball coach at Kentucky, the school announced Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts against the Auburn Tigers during the first half in the championship game of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The new contract came after UCLA made overtures to land Calipari as its new coach. Kentucky didn’t immediately announce terms of the deal.

Calipari’s new deal is essentially a lifetime contract, multiple outlets reported.

“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 believed to include a 10-year extension as head coach, followed by a role as a paid ambassador for the program upon his retirement, according to The Athletic and ESPN.

After receiving permission to talk to Calipari about its vacancy, UCLA reportedly offered a deal worth $48 million over six years. Calipari reportedly responded that he wasn’t interested in leaving the Wildcats.

Calipari, 60, is already the highest-paid basketball coach in the country, making $9.2 million this year, according to the USA Today Sports database. He previously signed an extension in 2017 that runs through 2024.

Calipari said the latest extension has been in the works for a while and isn’t a response to any specific school’s interest.

“It has nothing to do with all of the other stuff,” Calipari said. “Every year that I am here, something at the end of the year happens. Somebody calls ...

“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?”

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. Kentucky’s 2018-19 season ended with a loss to Auburn in the Elite Eight on Sunday. The Wildcats went 30-7.

UCLA is in the market for a head coach after firing Steve Alford with a 7-6 record in late December. Murry Bartow finished the season as interim coach for the Bruins, who went 17-16.

—Field Level Media

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