The NBA will have to wait. John Calipari and the University of Kentucky agreed to a new seven-year contract on Thursday afternoon, extending the veteran head coach through 2021.
As CBS Sports' Gary Parrish noted, the deal is worth an average of just over $7 million annually:
The Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker added a year-by-year breakdown of the numbers, while KentuckySportsRadio.com's Matt Jones noted there is a retention bonus for each year:
Per Tucker, he is now the nation's second-highest-paid coach, behind another guy in blue:
Calipari made the following statement, via the school's press release:
I'd like to thank Mitch (Barnhart) and Dr. Capilouto for their commitment to me, my family and the basketball staff. I've said over and over that I have the best job in the country. With the continued support from our administration and the greatest, craziest, fans in college basketball, we have accomplished a lot in our five quick years, but we still have lofty goals for the future. We want to continue to help young people and their families reach their dreams, while at the same time maintaining our success on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community.
Through five seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari has put together an astounding 152-37 (.804) record, leading his team to three Final Fours and a national championship during the 2011-12 season. Although he has established himself as arguably the most polarizing coach in the nation, his success is unparalleled over that span.
Much of the criticism revolves around that fact that, in many regards, he has established Kentucky as essentially an NBA minor league team.
He consistently brings in top recruiting classes (last year's, which featured six McDonald's All-Americans, was regarded as arguably the best ever), sends a large portion of those classes to the NBA after one season and immediately rebuilds with the same kind of talent.
While many don't like his style, though, there's no question he makes it work like few others in the nation would be capable of—or would even risk attempting. He won a title behind freshmen like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, and he got his team full of youngsters to click at the right time last season, leading the No. 8 seed all the way to the title game.
For his efforts, Calipari has garnered plenty of interest from the NBA. While this contract won't stop that interest, Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel argues it will at least slow it down:
With Karl Towns, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis joining a roster that returns more talent than usual, the 'Cats have the look of a very early championship contender in 2015.
With John Calipari entrenched on the sideline and on the recruiting trail, they have the look of a championship contender for many years past that, too.
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