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Behind the scenes of John Calipari’s negotiations with UCLA

For a short amount of time, some believed John Calipari could leave UK for UCLA.

As the college basketball season neared its conclusion, UCLA tried to persuade John Calipari to leave Kentucky to become the Bruins’ next head coach. A new story in the L.A. Times details the discussions between the two parties.

Among them were a contract that would pay Calipari $45 million over six seasons, a $1.7-million pool for assistant coaches, eight new staff positions, private planes for the use of the team and its coaches, and a monthly catered meal for Calipari’s staff and players. Negotiations progressed to the point that (UCLA’s senior associate athletic director Josh) Rebholz reached out to donors, seeking money to help cover all the new expenditures that Calipari’s hiring would entail, according to people familiar with Calipari’s requests.

Ultimately, the negotiations with UCLA were fruitless for the Bruins. Calipari signed a contract that will let him finish his career in Lexington as the highest-paid coach in college basketball. Most believed Calipari used UCLA as leverage to get the new contract. Sources on UCLA’s side paint a different picture.

Contrary to the widespread narrative that the Bruins had been played by a master tactician, the search committee felt that Calipari’s interest had been genuine, said a person close to the committee.

Regardless of Calipari’s intentions, the coach is here to stay at UK for the foreseeable future.

[L.A. Times]

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Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

33 Comments for Behind the scenes of John Calipari’s negotiations with UCLA



  1. RackEmWillie
    10:25 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    UCLA still considers themselves a blueblood, and it’s cute that they think that.



  2. a21CATSfan
    10:30 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    “Most believed Calipari used UCLA as leverage to get the new contract.” No, most people know that Calipari used his success to leverage a new (and well-deserved) contract at Kentucky. He’s won more games than anyone over the last 12 years and blowing everyone away in NCAA Tournament victories. CATS



    • Bluebloodtoo
      12:05 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      But (almost) every year there is a report of someone coming after him, and then he gets a new contract. I’m not upset by this. I see it as typical business for a high demand coach.



    • kjd
      12:10 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Gee, no mention of the head scratching, coaching blunder losses in the NCAA tournament.



    • runningunnin.454
      12:56 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      kjd, have you tried coaching at the D1 level? It’s possible that it’s harder than it looks.



  3. UKLugo
    10:31 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    Dont believe everything you hear.
    They shouldve gone after Bruce Pearl, honestly.



  4. plumloopy
    10:32 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    Planes, millions, whatever. But a monthly catered meal for him and the team?! Can’t believe that didn’t tip the scales!

    • With the expense of living out there, I would have asked for catered meals every day!



    • Bluebloodtoo
      12:18 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      The dollar value of catered meals is ridiculous to consider as a job perk when you make that much money. I mean it’s nice to feel special and save that time, but the actual dollar value… Not on the radar.



    • The Real LindaS
      1:12 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      wow, catered meals….that had to be the icing on the cake…I bet Mrs Cal said no to that…she doesn’t wan any of those fancy nancy stuff they have.



  5. J-Dub421
    10:40 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    I’m pretty sure Cal gets all that and more at UK. Cal and all the assistant coaches would have been taking a pay cut.



  6. kampus korner
    10:57 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    USA Today article published on 3/12/19, Cal highest paid coach then at $9.2 million. Why take less at UCLA where cost of living much higher?Also K. Payne makes a $1 million a yr. UCLA didn’t offer as much for asst’s Cal already has access to private plane. UCLA offers less than what he and assistants were already making and UCLA thinks they were close to signing Cal? Seriously? No wonder UCLA could only sign Mick Cronin.



  7. VirginiaCat
    11:37 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    Glad that he turned down the opportunity, but would have been interesting to see how he did at UCLA.



  8. BobbyBlue
    11:43 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    I believe the article is all about saving face with the UCLA fan base, and I agree with
    UK logo that Big Brucie should have been near the top of their list. I would not want him at IK because of his baggage but he is one of the few coaches out there that could handle all that the UK job entails.
    .



  9. BobbyBlue
    11:47 am April 30, 2019 Permalink

    I agree with UK logo that Big Brucie should have been near the top of the UCLA list of candidates.
    I also believe that this Times article is just an attempt to pacify the Bruins fan base, and is an inflated rendition for that very reason.



  10. Bluebloodtoo
    12:02 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    Getting a good raise in your current job is often difficult, and typically requires a competing offer. Much easier to get a big bump if you change jobs. But only calipari knows what really happened.



  11. Kat4Life
    12:04 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    I love our coach, but there are times I think he’d sell us all to Satan for $50. Make no mistake, he is as loyal as our pockets are deep.



    • imabucket
      12:54 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      How could you question his loyalty when he’s been offered a job elsewhere just about every year that he’s been at Kentucky . Including offered from NBA teams that I’m sure could offer him more money than we can ? Just curious to which part of Cals actions haven’t been loyal



    • StillBP
      12:58 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Make no mistake, your comment is a mistake.



    • Kat4Life
      5:03 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Now that I re-read it, you are right. No reason to be so jaded on Cal. I retract my comment !



  12. CatfaninCinci
    12:05 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    If you read The Athletic article, Mick Cronin was their guy all along



    • StillBP
      12:57 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      haha that’s hilarious!



    • runningunnin.454
      12:58 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Anybody believe that?



    • SuperTroy18
      1:23 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Surely, there’s no way that’s true. Mick Cronin probably doesn’t even believe that. In fact, Mick Cronin probably wasn’t even Mick Cronin’s first choice. If so, it would show how far UCLA has actually fallen.



    • ClutchCargo
      2:18 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

      Because everyone interviews a few other guys before finally going to the guy they actually want to hire. What universe does the Athletic live in?



  13. SuperTroy18
    1:00 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    I think a lot of people outside of the state underestimate how beautiful and amazing the state of Kentucky truly is. Even Ricky P has mentioned it. LA and other “big city” schools might attract younger coaches, but I could totally see an older coach turning those down and staying somewhere a little less…exhausting. (And I’ve spent lots of time all over the West Coast. Basketball just isn’t the same there.)



  14. The Real LindaS
    1:09 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    “the Bruins had been played by a master tactician, the search committee felt that Calipari’s interest had been genuine, said a person close to the committee.”…I have always questioned why he even agree to talk to them….has he ever talked to another school? Should we feel somewhat betrayed that he talked to them? Long live the King, Long live Cal!



  15. kjd
    4:50 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    KY basketball is the best coaching job in America he says. He’s making big bucks. However, continues to entertain offers. I just don’t understand what makes coaches tick I guess.



  16. UKBigBlueForever
    7:04 pm April 30, 2019 Permalink

    so when he interviewed with Dan Patrick at the Final 4 in MN this past April (5th) he flat out said he was not offered a job at UCLA and if there were numbers associated with the job and him that they weren’t true at all. I’m a huge CAL supporter and I know he doesn’t have to tell us S**T about what went down but that’s kind of strange to me.

    Did he say they didn’t offer him because he didn’t want to cause harm to their program maybe?
    Here is the 3 minute video:
    http://www.danpatrick.com/2019/04/05/john-calipari-addresses-ucla-rumors/



    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:34 pm May 1, 2019 Permalink

      Easily clarified if you are speaking technically. A job offer is a contract that you choose to sign, or choose not to sign. Discussing an offer on the phone is an entirely different matter. You could discuss all sorts of numbers and ideas, but still deny any job offer took place because you are not presented with a formal contract (job offer). With no formal offer, there are also no formal numbers. Even though you talked at length about the possibility of a job offer and what it might say.