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Calipari is leaving Kentucky to come to Arkansas


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has done what many thought was basically impossible and hired John Calipari away from Kentucky.
Calipari and Arkansas were still working on finalizing a five-year deal Sunday night, but it appears during the night they crossed the finish line. Calipari has been head coach at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky in college. He has a record of 813-260 and was 72-112 with the NBA's New Jersey Nets.
Calipari, 65, had grown out of favor with some at Kentucky with first- and second-round exits from the NCAA Tournament. He was making $8.530 at Kentucky. At Arkansas, reports are his base pay will be slightly less with incentives that would allow him to exceed that number.
Calipari had no buyout if he left for another job, but had a $33 million buyout of Kentucky fired him. The last three NCAA Tournaments have seen the Wildcats exit early. In the 2020-21 season, Kentucky had a losing record and didn't make the NCAA Tournament. In 2021-22, they exited in the Round of 64, 2022-23 they were out in Round of 32 and then this past season they once again lost in Round of 64 against Oakland.
Rumors became so rampant he would be fired that the Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart had to do a press release saying his job was secure. While the recent years haven't been good to Calipari's team in the postseason, he's still enjoyed an unbelievable career.

Calipari is friends with John H. Tyson, Arkansas billionaire, and that helped lead to this deal that stunned many. He won the national championship at Kentucky in 2012 and his first six Wildcat teams went to the Final Four. He is 410-123 in 15 years at Kentucky.
He coached at Memphis prior to Kentucky for nine seasons. He went to the national championship game one year and the Elite Eight two other seasons. He took UMass to a Final Four before leaving for the NBA and Nets three seasons.
At Arkansas, Calipari will replace Eric Musselman. Calipari is widely regarded at the nation's best recruiter. He will need to be this year. At this time, Arkansas has one player left on its roster in forward Trevon Brazile. This is after Khalif Battle and Tramon Mark entered the transfer portal. One signee, Sierra Canyon (Calif.) forward Isaiah Elohim still hasn't asked out of his letter of intent. It's very possible that neither Brazile or Elohim are with the team next year.
Several players have entered the transfer portal and technically they can withdraw and return to Arkansas if they wanted and it was okay with Calipari.
Neither Calipari or the University of Arkansas have commented on this.