LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP/CBS Sports) -- Kentucky has agreed to a long-term contract with basketball coach John Calipari that will allow him to finish his career with the Wildcats. The 60-year-old Calipari tweeted last month that his "plan and desire" was to retire at the school. He is 305-71 in 10 seasons with Kentucky, winning the 2012 NCAA championship in advancing to the Final Four on three other occasions.
In the aftermath of Kentucky's close loss to No. 5 seed Auburn in the Elite Eight on Sunday, the attention of UK officials has now turned to retaining its most valuable asset. In an effort to fend off interest from programs elsewhere, coach John Calipari has reportedly been offered a contract to stay in Lexington ... forever.
According to The Athletic, UK has made a "lifetime contract" offer as a direct response from UCLA's pursuit of Calipari. UCLA reportedly offered Calipari, currently making $9.2 million annually according to USA Today, a contract worth close to $50 million over six years. He turned it down.
Here's more from the report:
"UCLA offered Calipari a contract worth approximately $48 million over six years, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. The contacts between Calipari and UCLA have been more extensive than previously reported, but Calipari told UCLA last week he is not interested in leaving Kentucky."
Kentucky's ouster before the Final Four is a disappointment for Big Blue Nation, sure. But administration would be wise to lock Calipari up for as long as possible. Since his arrival in 2009, the program has made four Final Four appearances, seven Elite Eights and only missed the NCAA Tournament once. His Final Four appearances at UK are more than Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski (2) and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo (3) in the last decade, all of whom are considered to be among the elite in the game.
Calipari most recently signed a contract extension in 2017 that runs through 2024 and pays him $8 million annually excluding bonuses and apparel contracts. According to USA Today, his $25 million buyout as of April 1, 2019 is the highest buyout among NCAA Division I basketball coaches.