News of John Calipari’s “lifetime” contract at Kentucky leaked out after the season ended, but today, Cal put the pen to paper and made it official.
Calipari’s new 10-year, $86 million contract will keep him at Kentucky through the 2028-29 season. After six years (2025), Calipari will have the option to step down as the head coach and become special assistant to the athletics director/university representative. He would receive $950,000 in annual compensation for the position.
“One of the truly unique things about Kentucky men’s basketball is its legacy of head coaches who have made their own lasting mark on this program. John is a perfect illustration of that,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “He has added a special chapter to the greatest tradition in college basketball and it’s a chapter we want him to continue writing until the end of his coaching career. We are pleased to announce a new contract that will enable him to do exactly that.”
With a base salary of $400,000 per season from the university, Calipari will make $8 million in total compensation over the next two seasons with increases starting in 2021-22 ($8.5 million per year for four seasons) and 2025-26 ($9 million per year for four seasons).
“I want to thank the university, Dr. Eli Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and DeWayne Peevy for approaching me with the opportunity to finish my career at Kentucky,” Calipari said. “I’ve said from day one that this would be the gold standard and it has been for student-athletes and coaches. As I enter my 11th year, I’m reminded it took me 20 years to get an opportunity to like this. There is no other place I want to be. As I look forward, my mindset is what’s next and how can we be first at it for the young people that we coach.”
The only incentive in Calipari’s new contract remains his team’s performance in the Academic Progress Rate. For each year his team meets the threshold of 975, Calipari will receive $50,000. Kentucky has earned an NCAA award in five straight seasons for finishing among the top 10% of Division I men’s basketball schools.
Today is a very, very good day to be a Kentucky fan.