Did John Calipari Have Genuine Interest in UCLA Job?
John Calipari is the University of Kentucky's head basketball coach until he retires. Signed, sealed, delivered, he's UK's.
And I don't imagine there were too many members of Big Blue Nation who thought he'd ever leave Lexington for Tinseltown, but a Los Angeles Times story indicates something a little different.
The story claims Calipari and the head honchos at UCLA met several times.
Here's what L.A. Times writer Ben Bolch reported about those meetings:
"Among them were a contract that would pay Calipari $45 million over six seasons, a $1.7-million pool for assistant coaches, eight new staff positions, private planes for the use of the team and its coaches, and a monthly catered meal for Calipari’s staff and players. Negotiations progressed to the point that Rebholz reached out to donors, seeking money to help cover all the new expenditures that Calipari’s hiring would entail, according to people familiar with Calipari’s requests."
Seems awfully grandiose to me, but that is just my humble opinion.
But it also seems far too detailed for it to have been made up out of whole cloth.
It might also create an interesting perception dilemma for UK fans, when you look at both sides of this story.
Either there was genuine interest in the UCLA gig on his part, OR he was leveraging the Bruins to get a sweeter deal at UK.
Know what, though? He's at Kentucky until he retires. It's the better job. The FAR better job.
Say what you will about UK fans, but they are loyal, rain or shine.
UCLA fans? If the Bruins lose a game, they may not even show up at the next game.
They ran off Ben Howland at the beginning of this decade. And that was very soon after he'd taken UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours---the last school to claim that accomplishment.
UCLA wants something like what it had during its salad days of the 60s and 70s when they won 10 national titles in 12 years and seven in a row.
That doesn't happen anymore and never will again.
They're incredibly unrealistic.
In my opinion, THAT'S why John Calipari is at Kentucky until he hangs up his coaching shingle.