John Calipari contract details: Arkansas officially inks former Kentucky coach to 5-year deal

After a fascinating 72 hours, Arkansas has officially named John Calipari as its head basketball coach.

Reports first indicated Calipari was set to leave Kentucky for Arkansas on Sunday night, and the 65-year-old made his exit from the Wildcats official on Tuesday with a video announcement explaining that he thought the program needed a “new voice.”

While Calipari didn’t mention Arkansas, he confirmed that he was evaluating other opportunities with his family. The Razorbacks made the deal official on Wednesday morning.

Calipari spent 15 seasons at Kentucky, reaching three Final Fours and winning a national championship in 2012. Pressure began to mount on Calipari after the Wildcats won just one NCAA Tournament game in the last four years, but athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced in March that the Hall of Famer would return for a 16th season.

Eric Musselman’s exit from Arkansas evidently changed the dynamic for Calipari, opening up an opportunity in the same conference that allowed him to make a clean break with Kentucky.

MORE: Ranking the top options for Kentucky’s coaching vacancy

Here are the details of Calipari’s contract to coach the Razorbacks.

John Calipari contract details

Calipari signed a five-year deal with a base salary of $7 million per year, according to Field of 68’s Jeff Goodman. The deal includes incentives for NCAA Tournament appearances that could push its length to seven years.

The contract also includes a $1 million signing bonus and incentives for advancing to each round of the NCAA Tournament, according to Arkansas’ release.

Calipari had five years remaining on his 10-year, $86 million deal with Kentucky. While he isn’t set to make as much guaranteed money annually at Arkansas, the contract is structured so that incentives can keep him among the highest-paid coaches in college basketball. Calipari is also reportedly guaranteed significant resources to add players through the transfer portal. 

The contract is guaranteed to run through Calipari’s age-70 season. Calipari would be 72 if the deal lasted until 2031.

MORE: Tracking the latest Kentucky coaching search rumors

Highest-paid men’s college basketball coaches

Calipari still ranks second among the highest-paid coaches in college basketball at $7 million per year, even before incentives.

Coach Annual salary School
Bill Self $9.6 million Kansas
John Calipari $7 million Arkansas
Tom Izzo $6.2 million Michigan State
Bruce Pearl $5.7 million Auburn
Rick Barnes $5.7 million Tennessee
Scott Drew $5.1 million Baylor
Dan Hurley $5 million UConn
Brad Underwood $4.7 million Illinois
Kelvin Sampson $4.6 million Houston
Nate Oats $4.5 million Alabama

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