NCAA BK

Kentucky's Calipari scores big reward

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)

The University of Kentucky has given men's basketball coach John Calipari an extension that makes his contract worth $36.5 million and will keep him coaching the Wildcats through 2019.

In his first two seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats have gone 64-12 and last season earned their first trip to the NCAA Final Four in 13 years. They are 33-0 at home in Rupp Arena under Calipari.

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''The people of Kentucky have embraced our family as one of their own and we love being here and there is no other place we'd rather be,'' Calipari said in a university statement.

UK added two years to Calipari's current contract and reworked the compensation so that he is guaranteed $3.8 million for the next eight seasons and retention bonuses of $1 million in five of the next eight years and $1.1 million in the final year. He is also eligible for up to $850,000 in annual incentives, based mostly on the team's performance in postseason tournaments.

''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,'' Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in the statement. Barnhart said Calipari ''wants to be at Kentucky for a long time.''

Calipari will turn 60 in 2019, the last year of the current contract. He said during a conference call with Southeastern Conference coaches Monday that he's ''not going to be coaching in my 70s.''

''I'm not going to have my win-loss record on my tombstone,'' Calipari said. ''I'm not coaching to try to win more games than so-and-so. I don't care about that.''

University president Lee Todd said the coach 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.''


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Calipari's smashing success in two seasons at Kentucky has kept his name in the headlines when coaching vacancies open in the NBA. When he was linked to the Chicago Bulls opening last year, Calipari responded that Kentucky fans would likely hear his name linked to NBA jobs every year.

''I have the best coaching job,'' Calipari told a university-sponsored blog on Sunday. ''Financially I'm rewarded very handsomely. So why would I leave?''

Nine of Calipari's Kentucky players have been selected in the NBA draft, including 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall.

The new contract includes a base salary of $400,000 and $3.4 million in media and endorsement money.

Calipari's former contract reduced his pay to $2.85 million over its remaining three years, which ended in 2017. The new contract brings his annual compensation up to $3.8 million each year through the 2018-2019 season, along with the million-dollar retention bonuses. He would earn a bonus totaling $700,000 for winning the NCAA championship in any of those years.

Calipari's former contract guaranteed the coach $31.65 million over eight years, ending in 2017.

Tagged: Kentucky

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