Kentucky coach John Calipari receives 7-year extension

John Calipari is staying at Kentucky. Sorry, NBA.

The coach and the Wildcats agreed Thursday to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension that will pay a base package of $6.5 million next season and $8 million over each of the final three seasons.

“This was agreed to in principle right after the season,” Calipari said. “It was let’s try to get this right and let’s try to get it right for your staff. I want this to be someplace you’re comfortable being the rest of your career, and I said, ‘That’s good, let’s do it.’ “

Calipari has compiled a 152-37 record in five years at Kentucky. Even more impressive: three Final Four appearances in those five seasons.

“We feel like we have one of the premier coaches in college basketball and he certainly needs to be rewarded and recognized for all the things he has accomplished,” athletics director Mitch Barnhart said. “It has long been our goal over the last three to five years that Cal enjoy this as his final stop in coaching and that he has an opportunity to finish his career at the University of Kentucky and hopefully set standards and win championships that will be remembered for many, many years to come.”

The series of retention bonuses Calipari will earn will make him, according to USA Today’s annual salary survey, the second highest-paid college basketball coach behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who earned just under $9.7 million for the most recent reporting period.

That survey listed Calipari No. 3 at $5.5 million. But with the annual retention bonuses, he will start at $6.5 million and be earning $8 million by the 2020-21 season, when he will be 63 years old.

He receives no bonus for NCAA Tournament or league performance, only a $50,000 bump if the team achieves a 950 Academic Progress Rate score.

Calipari was rumored to have interest in a jump to the NBA — most notably for the Lakers‘ head coaching vacancy — but the extension squashes those rumors, a blissful result for Barnhart and Kentucky.

“I’m sure he’s had other opportunities to try the NBA again, but I’m not sure there is an NBA job that is any better than what this program and this fan base can give.”

Interestingly, Calipari’s retention bonuses are structured to trigger each year on July 31, which would put him comfortably beyond the typical hiring window for an NBA franchise. Only at the very end of this deal, when he would be at the age when he might be contemplating retirement — Calipari consistently has said his desire to coach does have a time limit — does the bonus pay out at the end of March.

Written by Catfish Hughes

Catfish Hughes

Frank “Catfish” Hughes has been called, “Bob Knight’s Baby with Hip Hop that covers sports.” and “the future of sports writing!” He is an official member of the NSSA & USBWA. Catfish covers the Los Angeles Angeles as the official East Coast Voice of the Lakers, and owns the NBA media outlet, and was the host of Thru the Wire Sports Talk Radio which aired on both ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. Catfish is the head editor and chief here at the Boxing Globe. @CatfishHughes on twitter.

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