Calipari Says Goodbye To Memphis and Becomes Kentucky's New Coach

Matt ReaganCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

27 JAN 1994:  UMASS HEAD BASKETBALL COACH JOHN CALIPARI SHOUTS INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS PLAYERS DURING A 76-74 LOSS TO CINCINNATI. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau/ALLSPORT

Former Memphis coach John Calipari has agreed to become the next coach at Kentucky. A news conference is scheduled for tomorrow to introduce the team's new coach.

The signing was first reported by ESPN's Andy Katz who received this text from Calipari;

" I am accepting the UK job! Go Big Blue, coach Cal."

He will become the highest-paid coach in the country with a deal reported in the $35-40 million range over eight years.

The news continues to get worse for Memphis fans as people close to the team say that they will lose star recruits Xavier Henry and DeMarcus Cousins.

According to ESPN both players were interviewed at the McDonald's All-American game today and said they would re-open their recruiting and sign elsewhere.

Cousins has yet to sign a letter of intent and Henry, according to CBSSports.com, has an opt-out clause allowing him to sign with another team without penalty if he chooses.

It would definitely seem that both players committed to play at Memphis because of Calipari, and will probably end up in Kentucky blue when it's all said and done.

Sources have told CBSSports.com that Tyreke Evans will enter the NBA Draft and Wesley Witherspoon will likely transfer to Kentucky.

Shawn Taggart won't return to Memphis because he has already graduated.

Combine that with the fact that Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson have exhausted their eligibility, and it's possible the next Tigers coach could inherit a roster featuring only Doneal Mack (8.7 points per game), Roburt Sallie (5.8 ppg), Willie Kemp (2.9 ppg) and Pierre Henderson-Niles (2.4 ppg), meaning Memphis could go from dominating Conference USA to missing the NCAA tournament in a matter of 12 months.(CBSSports.com)

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