University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari, who led the Wildcats to the school’s 16th NCAA Final Four appearance last season, has been rewarded with a new seven-year contract, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Thursday.
“Basketball has long been the marquee sport at the University of Kentucky,” Barnhart said. “It’s a sport that the traditions of this university and this state have been founded on. They were developed and sort of started from the get-go by Adolph Rupp and through many good people since. What Cal has done is returned us to those glory days of Final Fours and championship efforts, great players, and all along he’s helped young people understand the responsibility of going to class, of the commitment to each other and to a program that has as rich of a tradition as this one does. It has long been our goal over the last three to five years that Cal enjoy this as his final stop in coaching and that he has an opportunity to finish his career at the University of Kentucky and hopefully set standards and win championships that will be remembered for many, many years to come.”
In five seasons, Calipari has led the Wildcats to a 152-37 (.804 winning percentage) overall mark, including four Elite Eights, three Final Fours, two appearances in the national championship game and the 2012 national championship. Under Calipari’s tutelage, 17 Wildcats have been selected in the NBA Draft in four seasons, including 13 taken in the opening round, two No. 1 overall selections, five top-five picks and eight lottery picks.
Calipari has guided UK to two Southeastern Conference championships, a pair of SEC Tournament titles and has comprised 20 consecutive 20-win seasons, leading all active coaches with that streak. He is a mere three wins shy of becoming just the 13th active Division I coach to achieve 600 on-court victories.
“I’d like to thank Mitch (Barnhart) and (UK president) Dr. (Eli) Capilouto for their commitment to me, my family and the basketball staff,” Calipari said. “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.”
Calipari’s teams have showed remarkable success off the court. Most recently, the men’s basketball team posted a 3.11 cumulative grade-point average during the 2014 spring semester, including 10 student-athletes who amassed a 3.0 or better. It marked the sixth time in the last seven semesters the basketball team has achieved a 3.0 or higher GPA. In addition, Kentucky totaled a perfect APR score of 1,000 for the 2012-13 year.
Calipari’s foundation, The Calipari Foundation, has raised millions of dollars to help the lives of those in need in the Commonwealth and across the country, and in 2010, he used a telethon to raise more than $1 million for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He followed that up with another telethon in 2012 that raised $1 million for victims of Superstorm Sandy that ravaged the New England coast.
UK has hauled in the top-rated recruiting class in four of five seasons under Calipari’s direction. This year’s four-player class is rated No. 2 overall by most recruiting services and will accompany eight scholarship players from the 2013-14 national runner-up squad.
The Wildcats will welcome four McDonald’s All-America and Jordan Brand Classic players in Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyler Ulis next season.
All current coaching contracts can be found at http://www.uky.edu/Legal/ORRContracts.htm.