Source – John Calipari finalizing 5-year deal with Arkansas

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John Calipari is finalizing a five-year deal to become the next men’s basketball coach at Arkansas, sources told ESPN Sunday night, a blockbuster move that will shake up the SEC and the college basketball landscape.

The total base salary of Calipari’s contract is expected to be slightly less than the $8.5 million he made at Kentucky, sources told ESPN. However, the deal is expected to be full of incentives with the potential to exceed that number.

The contract is expected to be completed in the next 24 hours.

The key relationship to help close the deal was Calipari’s long-standing relationship with John H. Tyson, a billionaire who is a longtime Arkansas patron.

Calipari is set to replace Eric Musselman, who left for USC last week. Following his departure, Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek pursued Ole Miss’ Chris Beard and Kansas State’s Jerome Tang, though both coaches returned to their respective schools. Arkansas is believed to have offered Beard $5 million per year, sources said.

Calipari has been under more pressure at Kentucky than at any other time during his tenure, as the Wildcats have not made it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2019 and suffered losses to 15-seed St. Peter’s and 14-seed Oakland. Have had to face. In recent years.

Following the first-round loss to Oakland, there was enough speculation regarding Calipari’s job status that athletic director Mitch Barnhart issued a statement confirming that Calipari would return as head coach of the Wildcats the following season.

If Kentucky had fired Calipari it would have been owed more than $33 million, but if another program hires him the school is not owed any money.

One of the biggest names in college sports, Calipari has been at Kentucky since 2009. He led the Wildcats to a national title in 2012 and went to four Final Fours in his first six seasons in Lexington. Kentucky then went to the Elite Eight in 2017 and 2019, but has won only one NCAA Tournament game since reaching the regional finals last fall.

Off the court, Calipari established the Wildcats as a recruiting powerhouse, regularly landing top-ranked recruiting classes.

In 15 seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari is 410-123.

Before taking over for Billy Gillispie at Kentucky in 2009, Calipari was the head coach at Memphis for nine seasons. He led the Tigers to two Elite Eights and reached the national championship game in 2008, where they lost to Kansas in overtime.

Calipari led UMass to the Final Four in 1996 before leaving for the NBA and coaching the New Jersey Nets for three seasons.

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