Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky coach John Calipari who led the Wildcats to the school’s 14th NCAA Final Four appearance last season, has been given an eight-year contract worth a total of $36.5 million plus the opportunity for performance-based incentives, the school announced Monday.
Calipari had been linked to the Knicks as a potential successor to Mike D’Antoni, who has one year remaining on his contract.
“What John Calipari has done on and off the court in the past two years to reunite and rejuvenate this fan base has been magical,” AD Mitch Barnhart said. “He understands the responsibility that goes along with this position and there is no other coach out there that is a better fit for the best basketball program in the country.”
“Cal and I are the same age and share some of the same thoughts on our careers and I wanted to align his contract with my current eight-year deal. He worked with us during this process and clearly demonstrated that he wants to be at Kentucky for a long time. We evened out his yearly compensation without adding to his base salary. We were able to move some longevity bonuses around that were already in the contract, and added some longevity bonuses in the later years of his contract to demonstrate that we want him here for a long time. We also agreed to restructure the bonus money in a fair format where success dictates the bonuses. If we reach the levels of success for Cal to receive these bonuses, we will certainly generate the revenue necessary to allocate these funds.”
“Coach Calipari has led a remarkable turnaround of our basketball program, bringing it back to unquestioned national prominence and in a position to compete for championships on a regular basis,” UK President Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr. said. “Aligning his contract with that of Mitch Barnhart creates the potential for long-term continuity in an athletics program that is performing and winning both on the court and in the classroom.”
In two seasons, Calipari has led the Wildcats to a 64-12 (.889) overall mark, including UK’s first Final Four appearance in 13 years last season.
Calipari became only the second coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Boasting a perfect 33-0 home record in two years at Rupp Arena, he also led Kentucky to its second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament title. Calipari’s teams have also showed remarkable improvement off the court, sporting a 3.14 grade-point average in the spring 2011 semester with nine players at a 3.0 GPA or better. Kentucky also tied for the highest Academic Progress Rate (974) among men’s basketball teams in the SEC. All four draft-eligible players were selected in the 2011 NBA Draft, giving Kentucky an unprecedented nine draft picks over the last two seasons. Calipari also received an Emmy nomination for his role in creating “Hoops for Haiti” during his first season which raised over $1.5 million for the people of Haiti.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.