By LARRY VAUGHT
While some Kentucky fans were contemplating John Calipari’s “lack of success” for only winning 305 games and one national championship in 10 years and getting to just four Final Fours and seven Elight Eights, Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart was busy making sure that Calipari ends his coaching career at Kentucky.
Several weeks ago rumors broke that UCLA was pursuing Calipari for the job that has been vacant since Steve Alford was fired during the season. Calipari apparently even talked with UCLA officials before telling them no thanks — as one might have expected.
Early this afternoon several media outlets reported that Calipari had signed a new contract at UK and Kentucky officials confirmed that Monday night before Calipari went on his weekly radio show and also confirmed the news. He said he had been talking with UK officials for some time about the extension.
He said this deal had nothing to do with the UCLA rumors/talks.
“Every year that I’m here, something at the end of the year happens. Someone’s trying to call or talk,” Calipari said on the radio show while talking to Tom Leach. “You think of what we’ve built, the culture that we’ve built. We’ve done it all kind of different ways. We’ve got good kids.
“The academics, that we’re allowed to give lifetime scholarships. We’re allowed to bring these kids back. We insure these kid. This is a situation and a culture that’s taken time to build. Where else would I want to coach?”
The better question probably would be why would UK fans want any other coach to lead the program after all he’s done.
His contract was extended two years ago to run through the 2023-24 season with a salary of about $8 million annually. Now he’s reportedly getting six more years on the contract for another $50 million.
Kentucky has not issued a formal announcement of the contract extension and there was nothing on the UK athletics website. However, Calipari’s daughter, Megan, couldn’t help poking back at some of the fans that had blistering her dad since Sunday’s Elite Eight loss to Auburn.
“Lol you’re stuck with us for LIFEEEEE,” she tweeted.
And from the reaction of most UK fans to the news, that is a good thing.