Reports: Calipari in ‘serious talks’ with Arkansas about coaching vacancy

Published 3:13 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

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Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari is reportedly in “serious talks” with Arkansas about its head coaching vacancy.

According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart has yet to be informed of any possible discussions between the two parties. Eric Musselman resigned as coach of the Razorbacks to take the USC job Friday.

According to Norlander, Calipari has ties to the Tyson Family, which owns Tyson Chicken and is a major donor at Arkansas. Nolander added “the story is gaining volume because major boosters are optimistic this can happen.”

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The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette also confirmed sources as saying Calipari was in discussions with officials in Fayetteville about the opening, but added, “one source cautioned a deal that could bring Calipari to Arkansas is far from done.”

However, ESPN is reporting that a five-year deal will be completed in the next 24 hours.

Calipari just completed his 15th season at Kentucky, which lost to Oakland 80-76 in the NCAA Tournament three weeks ago. The loss dropped Kentucky to 1-3 in its past three tournament appearances.

Following the season, Barnhart announced Calipari would return next season despite the team’s struggles in the postseason during the past five years. Firing Calipari after the season would have cost the university approximately $33 million but if he leaves for another job, the school reportedly isn’t required to pay the buyout.

Calipari has been at Kentucky since 2009. He led the Wildcats to the national title in 2012 and went to four Final Fours in his first six seasons. Kentucky then went to a pair of Elite Eights in 2017 and 2019 but has won just one NCAA tournament game since that last run to the regional final.

In 16 seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari is 410-123.