Calipari receives contract extension



UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari received 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.

Calipari’s base salary for each year will be $400,000. He will get a guaranteed $3.4 million for media/endorsements, and will get at least $1 million for retention in seven of the eight years (the bonus for 2015-16 was “intentionally omitted,” for unspecified reasons). That brings his guaranteed money to $4.8 million in five years, $3.8 million in two years, and $4.9 million in the final year (the retention value is $1.1 million that year).

Calipari’s incentives include: $50,000 for a regular season SEC championship, $50,000 for an SEC Tournament championship, $100,000 for making the Sweet 16, $100,000 for making the Elite Eight, $150,000 for making the Final Four, and $350,000 for winning the Championship.

Calipari will have to pay UK $1 million if he terminates the contract before March 30, 2014. He will not have to pay anything if he terminates the contract after that date.

Calipari’s eight-year deal will coincide with the end of Barnhart’s own contract.

“Cal and I are the same age and share some of the same thoughts on our careers and I wanted to align his contract with my current eight-year deal,” Barnhart said. “He worked with us during this process and clearly demonstrated that he wants to be at Kentucky for a long time.”

Added outgoing President Lee Todd: “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.”

The deal’s salary was described by ESPN’s Andy Katz as essentially pricing Calipari out of the NBA market, because contracts on this scale aren’t typical for coaches anymore.

“We evened out his yearly compensation without adding to his base salary,” Barnhart said. “We were able to move some longevity bonuses around that were already in the contract, and added some longevity bonuses in the later years of his contract to demonstrate that we want him here for a long time. We also agreed to restructure the bonus money in a fair format where success dictates the bonuses. If we reach the levels of success for Cal to receive these bonuses, we will certainly generate the revenue necessary to allocate these funds.”


Specific items that changed from the original contract to the extension:

  • His compensation for media/endorsements will now stay constant at $3.4 million. Previously, it declined from $3.4 million to $2.85 million in the last three years.
  • Calipari’s bonus for making a Final Four decreased from $175,000 to $150,000.
  • Calipari’s bonus for winning a national championship decreased from $375,000 to $350,000.
  • Calipari will no longer receive any bonus for achieving a 75 percent graduation rate in each class. He previously earned $50,000 for each class.
  • Calipari can earn $100,000 for making the Elite Eight. He previously had no bonus for making it to that stage in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Calipari previously earned an increasing retention bonus for three years (2014-16). He now earns a flat $1 million for every year of the contract except for 2015-16 (which was “intentionally omitted” for unspecified reasons).
  • Calipari will pay a $1 million buyout if he terminates the contract prior to March 30, 2014.