Yes, John Calipari absolutely deserved the colossal contract he signed at Kentucky. Even if he didn’t deserve it, it was either pay him the big bucks or let another organization pay him. It is unconfirmed that John was in negotiations with the Cavaliers for an even larger contract. Was it the right move for him personally? No, I do not think that signing a seven year deal at the University of Kentucky was the best decision for his legacy. Now he is locked into a contract at the arguably toughest NCAA Division 1 Basketball coaching position in the country. The coaching job at Kentucky is comparable to the NCAA Division 1 football coaching job at the University of Alabama or even Texas for that matter. Yes, basketball in Kentucky is that important.
The Kentucky Wildcats have won more NCAA division 1 games than any other school in history. Win or leave. It’s a part of their history. Tubby Smith had, “For Sale” signs thrown in his front yard after fans grew tired of not making it to the Final Four. John Calipari will be under the microscope 24/7 while he is the coach of the Cats just as the coaches before him. Already winning a championship in 2012, he has undoubtedly proved that he can win in Kentucky and coaching his team to the championship game this past season only compliments his deservingness. I am in no way suggesting that John Calipari will fail at the University of Kentucky. He is an amazing coach with a resume that could land him a coaching job anywhere in the country. Though if he were to fail, he now has 7 years to it under the brightest lights in college basketball.
Why not sign a short term deal? If John Calipari would have negotiated a short term contract with Kentucky he would have more freedom long term. One day when the Kentucky Coaching seat becomes too hot he will wish he had the option to stand up and walk away rather than burn in it for the remainder of his very extensive seven year contract.