It’s Official: Kentucky gets Calipari


John Calipari is leaving Memphis to take the reins of the University of Kentucky.

Quick.  Everyone look surprised!

john-calipariCalipari agreed to an eight-year, $35 million deal. He gets a $2.5 million signing bonus and $3 million per year for the first four years. In years five through eight, Calipari will receive $4.5 million annually. Incentives increase the deal to $35 million.

Todd said he was unaware of any effort to raise private funds to supplement Calipari’s pay.

In terms of players as well as coach, Calipari’s move may prove Kentucky’s gain and Memphis’ setback.

Several players or recruits spoke of leaving Memphis and joining him at Kentucky.

In Miami for Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game, heralded prospect DeMarcus Cousins (who had committed to Memphis) told The Miami Herald on Tuesday that he spoke with Calipari before the decision was made.

“I’m trying to stay focused right now and have fun,” Cousins said. “When I get back home, it’s time to get back down to business. I did get a chance to talk to Coach Cal, and he said he was considering the job. Now I’m basically waiting like everybody else to see what he does.”

Another McDonald’s All-American committed to Memphis, Xavier Henry, said he would reopen the process.

“I could get out of my letter of intent if he wasn’t there for any reason,” Henry told reporters in Miami. “It reopens my whole recruitment to everybody and anybody.”

Meanwhile, point guard Tyreke Evans, who won several national Freshman of the Year honors this past season, told FoxSports.com that he was leaving Memphis for a shot at the NBA.

“If he’s leaving, I’m not staying,” Evans told FoxSports.com. “Coach leaving did it for me. …

“I’m shocked he left, especially with the class he had coming in. I know it was tough for him, but it was his dream job. You can’t get mad at him for that.”

Calipari fits the criteria Kentucky desired after firing Billy Gillispie on Friday: a well-rounded coach who can perform the UK job’s varied duties on and off the court.

In terms of coaching, Calipari is one of only 13 coaches to take two schools to a Final Four. He guided Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008 to college basketball’s grandest stage.

Only Rick Pitino has taken three schools to a Final Four: Providence (1987), Kentucky (1993, 1996 and 1997) and Louisville (2005).

Calipari has compiled a record of 445-140 in 17 seasons as a college head coach. That includes a nine-season record of 252-69 at Memphis.

More at KentuckySports.com

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