Back in April, UCLA’s alleged six-year, $48 million contract offer to Kentucky head coach John Calipari made headlines. Kentucky’s response to fend off UCLA’s interest, a proposed “lifetime contract” that would keep Calipari here for the rest of his career, created even bigger headlines.
“The university talked to me most of the year,” the UK head coach told the media this morning. “[They said,] ‘We want you to be here the rest of your career. How do we do this? What do we do? Let’s sit down and talk.’”
When asked if he was serious about taking the UCLA job, Calipari said that he owes it to himself and his profession to listen to calls from everybody, regardless of the situation. In his mind, he could potentially help someone else in the process, even if he’s not willing to take or even consider another job.
“I get calls every year from different people. And you know why I’ll talk? At the end of the day, I may be able to help someone else,” Calipari said on Tuesday. “If I know that I can help somebody else who’s helping assistants, I do that, but I’ll listen to people talk to me. I mean, I owe that to the profession, to myself. To say I’ll never talk to somebody – some of these people that I talk to I’ve been on committees with. I know the guy really well or I know who this person is.”
According to Calipari, when people say there is no reason to ever leave Kentucky, they’re exactly right. With what he’s able to accomplish in Lexington, the families he is able to help, and the resources he has to do it with, he knows “this is the place.”
“Everybody would say, ‘Why would he ever leave Kentucky for anywhere?’ You’re right. Why would I?” the UK head coach said. “What would lead me, a better situation more committed to basketball? Money? Staff? Tell me why I would do this?”
Calipari said that he worked his entire career to get to Kentucky, and he is in no rush to leave it.
“‘He’s tired of being here. He’s tired of the fans.’ Really? This is, your whole career you’re trying to get to a point where you’re at a program where it really matters and fans are engaged, you never have to sell a ticket, your son does something small and it trends nationally,” he said. “If I speak, it’s like what did I say that they went crazy about? This is the place, and where else can you prepare young people for the rest of their lives the way we do here?”