John Calipari and the University of Kentucky agreed on a new lifetime deal that will make Calipari the head coach of the Wildcats for as long as he wants to be the head coach of the Wildcats. Lifetime sounds like a very long time, so what does the deal really mean?
It means John Calipari isn’t leaving Kentucky for another job in college basketball. The NBA? Still very unlikely, but definitely not another college gig. Barring some crazy scenario in the Association, he is in Lexington until he hangs up his Ferragamos for the last time.
It means he can look a recruit in the eyes and say he isn’t going anywhere. Around this time every year, Calipari’s name pops up in coaching searches — occasionally legitimate, most times not. Opposing coaches often use the rumors as ammo to recruit against him. “You sure you want to go to Kentucky when Cal might be leaving this offseason?” It happens all the time. Now he can show recruits his lifetime deal.
I bet y’all stop the rumors now??
— THE DRAGON? (@KahlilWhitney) April 1, 2019
It means UK got tired of the rumors, too.
It means the tiny portion of Big Blue Nation that wants Calipari gone can shut the hell up. Personally, I think those people should be deported.
It means Calipari feels appreciated by the university and the fan base (outside of the idiots). I will say, though, before the two sides came to terms with the lifetime deal, the negativity was taking its toll on Cal. He may tell us he doesn’t hear his critics, but he does. UK wanted to reassure him that he is the only man for the job.
It doesn’t mean a whole lot, contractually. Outside of the commitment to pay Calipari an undisclosed amount as an ambassador of the program beyond his coaching days, the “lifetime” aspect of the deal isn’t as wild as many are making it out to be. Like a few others in the profession (Coach K, Williams, maybe Self), Calipari already had the job as long as he wanted it. His deal had him in place through 2024, and had he gotten that far and wanted a few more years, it would have been on the table. It’s not like UK could get stuck with him for 20-30 years; he only has so many more years left in the tank and a contract would’ve been in place for however long he wanted to go. It has been a lifetime deal without the lifetime tag for four or five years now. Calling it a lifetime deal is simply saying he is here until he doesn’t want to be here.
It means Dunkin’ Donuts in Lexington better keep the coffee with one cream and one Splenda coming.
It means the head coach of Kentucky basketball will continue to do more than coach basketball. Whatever side of the coaching argument you are on, you can’t argue against what Calipari has done for the community. He gives back to families, local charitable organizations, federal workers, people affected by disasters, and he even let Louisville win one year. That’s what kind of a guy he is, and the Bluegrass is lucky to have his generosity.
It means you can forget about going to the Maui Invitational anytime soon.
It means we have to keep fake laughing at that “I was wrong once… in 1978” joke. He loves that one.
It means the Pat Fordes and Dana O’Neils and Dan Wolkens of the world will continue to trash him. But why should we care about what they have to say in the first place? Like Taylor Swift taught us in 1989, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate; baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake; I shake it off, I shake it off.” Calipari will just keep cruising; can’t stop, won’t stop grooving.
It means it will keep being different here. Not for everyone, too.
It means UK will be a Players First program for the foreseeable future. It also means the NBA Draft will continue to be a holiday in Kentucky.
It means Kentucky is going to be in the hunt for the title every single year.