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Report: Arkansas Set to Hire John Calipari as Next Head Coach


By Connor Goodson


FAYETTEVILLE, AR ( Arkansas is finalizing a deal with Kentucky‘s John Calipari to become the program’s next head coach, according to multiple reports. The deal is reportedly for five years and will pay Calipari around $7.5-8 million annually. According to those with knowledge of the deal, Calipari is also set to have access to an NIL package in excess of $5 million annually.

Early Sunday evening, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander reported that Calipari and Arkansas had entered into serious discussions surrounding the school’s head coaching vacancy.  Calipari has a clause in his current contract that requires him to notify Kentucky when he engages with another program about a potential job. As of tonight, Calipari formally notified the school of his discussions with Arkansas.

Numerous sources have floated Calipari’s name to HawgSports as a potential candidate in recent days, mostly due to his strong connections with the Tyson family. The Tysons are major boosters the Razorback athletic department and close personal friends with Calipari.

Calipari is entering his 33rd season as a head coach at the Division I level and has a record of 813-260 at three different schools (UMass, Memphis and Kentucky). He spent the past 15 seasons at Lexington, leading the Wildcats to 410-123 record in that span. In 2012, Calipari guided Kentucky to the school’s eighth national championship.

In 2015, Calipari was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.


From UMass to Memphis and now Kentucky, Calipari’s career has been successful throughout, but his most recent run in Lexington has been the best stretch of his career.

During Calipari’s 14 seasons at UK, no team in the NCAA Tournament has more wins (32), Final Fours (four), Elite Eights (seven) or Sweet 16s (eight).

In advancing to the 2015 Final Four, Coach Cal became one of just three coaches all-time to make four Final Fours in a five-year span, joining Mike Krzyzewski and John Wooden as the other coaches to achieve that feat. Twice at UK (in 2012 and in 2015) his teams have won 38 games, tying his 2008 Memphis team for the most wins in college basketball history.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, Calipari became the 96th coach to join the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, considered one of the ultimate achievements in the game.

Kentucky: The Gold Standard

Calipari reached the mountaintop in his third year in Lexington, guiding Kentucky to its eighth national championship and his first national title. He is one of only two coaches (Rick Pitino) to lead three different schools to a Final Four (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2014, 2015).

NBA Draft: Dream Fulfiller

As someone who prides himself on helping young men reach their dreams, he has helped 58 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his college coaching career, including 47 over his first 14 seasons at Kentucky. The 47 picks over that 14-season span are 12 more than the next closest school (Duke).

The Success Rate

Much like he did at UMass, when his players graduated at nearly 80%, Calipari has stressed academics. Fifteen of his final 18 seniors who came through the Memphis program earned their bachelor’s degrees, and all 29 players at UK who were eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years have graduated, including six players (Brad CalipariBrennan Canada, Patrick Patterson, Zan PayneJarrod Polson and Alex Poythress) who earned their degree in just three years.

Calipari’s teams routinely post grade-point averages of 3.0 or better, including a 3.763 team GPA during the 2020 spring semester. In the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation, UK routinely finishes at or near the top of the country.

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