John Calipari has reportedly been offered a lifetime contract by Kentucky. Despite potential overtures from other jobs, there’s absolute no reason for Calipari to turn down this deal from Kentucky. He’s never going to top the situation he has in Lexington.
Reports have suggested UCLA has gone hard after Calipari, offering him a deal that could be in the range of $48 million over six years. While that’s certainly enticing, UCLA isn’t half the job Kentucky is right now. Even if LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers come calling, Cal should stay put.
Calipari arrived at Kentucky in 2009 and has posted a stellar record of 305-71 (.811). He has won five SEC titles, six SEC Tournament titles, a national title in 2012 and has been named the Naismith College Coach of the Year once (2015). He also led the Wildcats to the Final Four in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Calipari was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Since his arrival in Lexington, the 60-year-old coach has been nearly unrivaled in his ability to attract top talent. Employing his one-and-done recruiting strategy, he’s taken Kentucky out of the doldrums and made it one of the premier programs in the nation again.
If Calipari were to leave for another job he’d just be starting over. That might be something he would have been interested in doing a decade ago, but now it would be silly.
He should take Kentucky up on its lifetime contract offer and stay there for the rest of his career.