LEXINGTON, Ky. (WHAS11)—UK Coach John Calipari just inked a new contract with the powerhouse of college basketball.
According to a press release by the university, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was just trying to keep the right coach for the team at UK.
The new deal will keep Calipari in Lexington through the 2020-21 season, another seven years on top of the successful five he’s already had with the Big Blue Nation.
"We feel like we have one of the premier coaches in college basketball and he certainly needs to be rewarded and recognized for all the things he has accomplished," Barnhart said.
The contract extension comes after a whirlwind of rumors that Calipari was going to jump ship from college basketball again to go coach in the NBA. During the Final Four, former Wildcat Rex Chapman said that Calipari was going to leave the Cats win or lose to go coach the Los Angeles Lakers, who had not yet fired their coach.
Other rumors have flown, even sparked by Calipari who said he would possibly leave UK to coach his friend LeBron James, if the opportunity presented itself, but also reiterated he could not leave his current players right now.
I’ve said over and over that I have the best job in the country.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 5, 2014
The contract increases the coach’s annual salary from $6.5 million to $8 millionstarting in 2018. Barnhart didn’t shy away from the large amount of money being shelled out for the high caliber coach.
"We certainly have the most incredible fan base for basketball," Barnhart said. "We have great facilities. Obviously we always have a dynamic schedule and great exposure. So he has been the right person at the right time at the University of Kentucky and has done a fabulous job of leading our program and is very deserving of an extension of his contract."
In five seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari is 152-37, which is an .804 winning percentage. He has led UK to a National Champions, National Runner-up and another Final Four.
We want to continue to help young ppl & families reach their dreams while maintaining success on the court, in the classroom & the community— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 5, 2014
There are high expectations coming into the 2014-25 season in Lexington. Calipari is returning much of his roster from this past season that lost to UConn in the championship game, in addition to bringing in the second ranked recruiting class, which snaps his streak of number one classes.
The two losses from the past seasons team were James Young and Julius Randle, both expected to go in the lottery of the NBA Draft.
UK is predicted to be the preseason number one in most polls.
For the full press release on Calipari's contract click here.