Just days after major media outlets and fan message boards were buzzing with news of Billy Donovan possibly jumping ship to Kentucky, the Wildcats have reportedly offered Memphis coach John Calipari a deal to become their next head coach. Kentucky parted ways with Bill Gillispie late last week after his second season of under-performing.
Unlike most SEC schools, the University of Kentucky is a basketball first school, built on a winning foundation and is one of the most tradition-rich programs anywhere. The Kentucky coaching job is often regarded as the best college basketball job in the country, so it comes with no surprise that Calipari is interested in the position and wanted a night to sleep on the offer. If Calipari accepts the position, it will likely make him the highest paid basketball coach in the NCAA.
Calipari, 252-69 in nine seasons at Memphis and 445-140 overall, was named the Sports Illustrated coach of the year before the start of the NCAA tournament, the first time he received SI’s award. Calipari was the Naismith coach of the year last season, joining Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as the only coaches to be named the winner twice since the award’s inception in 1987.
The SEC has been down the past few years, in some part because Kentucky hasn’t had success. Bringing in a big name coach could revive the conference to what it once was.