John Calipari Finalizing Deal to Become Next Arkansas Coach, per Report

Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari
Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

John Calipari and the University of Kentucky appear set to part ways, with the legendary college basketball coach reportedly finalizing a deal to take over as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN.

Calipari's contract with the University of Arkansas will reportedly run for five years, though no deal has officially been signed yet.

Calipari will depart Kentucky after 15 seasons with the program. He won one national championship, made four Final Four appearances and led the Wildcats to 12 NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure with the university.

Kentucky has struggled during postseason play under Calipari in recent seasons, including losing to No. 14 seed Oakland in the first round of this year's NCAA tournament. Despite some speculation about Calipari's future in Lexington following the early exit, athletic director Mitch Barnhart committed to the coach's return next season.

Calipari is under contract with Kentucky through the 2028–29 season. The school would've owed him $33 million had it fired him after this season.

Multiple reports indicate that Calipari's close relationship with John Tyson, CEO of Tyson Foods and significant Razorbacks booster, played a role in bringing the 65-year-old to Arkansas.

The Razorbacks reportedly honed in on Calipari over the weekend after Eric Musselman agreed to take over as the coach of USC.

Karl Rasmussen


Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.