In three of the last four years Kentucky has seen its basketball season conclude at the Final Four, with the program’s eighth national title being won in 2012. The 2013-14 squad fell one win short of its goal, losing to UConn in the national title game 60-54 in Arlington, Texas. However thanks to the combination of returnees and one of the nation’s best recruiting classes, the Wildcats are seen by many as the early favorite to win the national title in 2015.
John Calipari will look to lead that group to Indianapolis, and he’ll be doing so with a new contract. Thursday it was announced by the school that Calipari has signed a new deal that will run through the 2020-21 season. The contract makes Calipari the second-highest paid coach in college basketball, with only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski making more.
“I’d like to thank [athletic director] Mitch [Barnhart] and [president] Dr. [Leo] Capilouto for their commitment to me, my family and the basketball staff,” Calipari said in the release. “I’ve said over and over that I have the best job in the country. With the continued support from our administration and the greatest, craziest, fans in college basketball, we have accomplished a lot in our five quick years, but we still have lofty goals for the future.
“We want to continue to help young people and their families reach their dreams, while at the same time maintaining our success on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community.”
While Calipari’s base salary throughout the course of the new contract will be $400,000, aspects such as media obligations, endorsements and a retention bonus are where the big money will come from. Calipari will make $6.5 million next season, with that amount increasing to $7 million in 2015-16, $7.25 million in 2016-17, $7.75 million in 2017-19 and $8 million in each of the final three years of the deal.
What’s interesting about the financial terms of the contract is that Calipari won’t receive a bonus for on-court performance, but he will receive a bonus of $50,000 every season that his team posts an Academic Progress Rate score of 950 or higher. Kentucky posted a perfect APR score for the 2012-13 academic year, and their four-year average was 989.