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Fresh Off Upset Elimination, Coach Cal Gets 'Lifetime' Contract from Kentucky

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It looks like Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is going to be a Wildcat for life.

Calipari, fresh off a loss to underdog Auburn in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, agreed to a contract extension to coach the team for the rest of his career, according to ESPN.

“Where else would I want to coach?” Calipari said when asked about it on his weekly radio show.

Reuters reported that is believed to be a 10-year extension as head coach that would be followed by a role as a paid ambassador for the program.

Calipari is the highest-paid coach in college basketball, according to USA Today, making $9.2 million per year. His current contract runs through 2024, when he will be 64, so he’s still relatively young as coaches go. The extension conceivably will keep him on the Kentucky sidelines until 2034.

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Calipari had been offered a six-year, $48 million offer to coach UCLA, according to The Athletic. But he reportedly turned it down last week, the report said.

“It has nothing to do with the other stuff. … People call every year,” Calipari said of the UCLA offer, reported ESPN. “They presented it to me, and I appreciate it.”

But he added there’s no place like home — Kentucky, that is.

“They want me to be here until I’m done coaching. This is a unique place, and I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here,” Calipari said on his radio show, reported Reuters.

Calipari has been coaching at Kentucky since 2009. Before that he coached for nine years at Memphis and nine years at UMass.

He has taken all three schools to the Final Four — although the UMass and Memphis appearances were vacated over NCAA violations.

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Does Calipari deserve a lifetime contract?

Calipari has taken Kentucky to four Final Fours — in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

The Wildcats won the national championship in 2012.

Kentucky lost in the Elite Eight this year, falling to the Tigers 77-71.

Calipari is 305-71 at Kentucky and a lifetime record of 708-209.

Since he got to Kentucky, the program has more wins than any other Division I men’s program.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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