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.