John Calipari set to take Arkansas coaching job in major college basketball shake up: report

John Calipari may reportedly be on the move as the latest head coach from the SEC to shake up his respective sport a few months after Nick Saban left the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Calipari is the target of Arkansas men’s basketball’s head coaching search, ESPN reported. As of Sunday night, Calipari was reportedly finalizing a five-year deal with the school which is expected to be completed within the next 24 hours.

John Calipari points

John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after a play during the first half in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Rupp Arena on February 24, 2024 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Calipari has been the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats since the start of the 2009-10 season and has been at the top of the college basketball coaching landscape since Derrick Rose led the Memphis-led team to the national championship in 2009 while Calipari was there. He then left for the Wildcats the next season.

With Kentucky, he’s been the face of one-and-done. He would recruit the biggest and best high school basketball players around the country and lure them to Kentucky in hopes of making their NBA dreams come true. It worked for the most part as players like Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins passed through Lexington.

Calipari led the team to a 38-2 record in 2012 and won the national championship.

John Calipari vs Arkansas

John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats during the 88-73 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks at Rupp Arena on February 07, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


He hasn’t been as successful since then as the last few years showed. Kentucky was bounced from the tournament in the first round in two of the last three seasons. In 2020-21, the Wildcats didn’t cross 10 wins.

Arkansas saw Eric Musselman leave to take the USC and appeared to make the big move to get Calipari out of Kentucky and into the red and white of the Razorbacks.

John Calipari vs Gonzaga

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari in a game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Kentucky Wildcats on February 10, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. (Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arkansas last won a championship in 1994. The team made it to the Elite Eight in 2022 and 2021 but failed to make the Big Dance this season.

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