University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari, who led the Wildcats to the school's 14th NCAA Final Four appearance last season, has been rewarded with an eight-year contract worth a total of $36.5 million plus the opportunity for performance-based incentives, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Monday.
"What John Calipari has done on and off the court in the past two years to reunite and rejuvenate this fan base has been magical," Barnhart said. "He understands the responsibility that goes along with this position and there is no other coach out there that is a better fit for the best basketball program in the country."
"Coach Calipari has led a remarkable turnaround of our basketball program, bringing it back to unquestioned national prominence and in a position to compete for championships on a regular basis," UK President Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr. said. "Aligning his contract with that of Mitch Barnhart creates the potential for long-term continuity in an athletics program that is performing and winning both on the court and in the classroom."
In two seasons, Calipari has led the Wildcats to a 64-12 (.889) overall mark, including UK's first Final Four appearance in 13 years last season.
Calipari became only the second coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four.
Boasting a perfect 33-0 home record in two years at Rupp Arena, he also led Kentucky to its second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament title. Calipari's teams have also showed remarkable improvement off the court, sporting a 3.14 grade-point average in the spring 2011 semester with nine players at a 3.0 GPA or better. Kentucky also tied for the highest Academic Progress Rate (974) among men's basketball teams in the SEC.
All four draft-eligible players were selected in the 2011 NBA Draft, giving Kentucky an unprecedented nine draft picks over the last two seasons.
Calipari also received an Emmy nomination for his role in creating "Hoops for Haiti" during his first season which raised over $1.5 million for the people of Haiti.
"I'd like to thank Dr. Todd and Mitch for this great opportunity and the Big Blue Nation for their unbelievable support," UK head basketball coach John Calipari said. "Ellen and I have tried to be good stewards with the blessings we have received and will continue to invest in the Commonwealth and the Lexington community. The people of Kentucky have embraced our family as one of their own and we love being here and there is no other place we'd rather be. Our fans are the best in all of sports and even though you're crazy, we love it."