NCAA Basketball

John Calipari to join Arkansas, leave Kentucky after 15 seasons, reports say

The deal reportedly is "massive" and for five years.

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A massive head-coaching change seemingly is happening in college basketball.

John Calipari is set to join Arkansas after a 15-year stint with Kentucky, multiple reports said late Sunday night. CBS Sports was the first to report the news.

The deal is expected to be for five years and will be completed in the next 24 hours, ESPN's Pete Thamel added. The Athletic labeled it as a "massive new deal."

Calipari reportedly has close ties with John Tyson (billionaire heir to Tyson Foods) and his family, which is Arkansas' biggest donor. Calipari has previously referred to Tyson as his "longtime friend."

Arkansas' opening came after Eric Musselman, who was head coach for five years, left to join USC's vacancy.

Calipari guided Kentucky to a national championship in 2012, along with six Final Four appearances and seven in the Elite Eight. The 65-year-old would leave the Wildcats with a 410-122 (77.1%) win-loss record once the deal becomes official.

Calipari's contract with Kentucky runs through 2028-29 and he does not owe a buyout if he leaves early.

The school, though, would've owed Calipari $33 million if he'd been fired after the season, which could've been possible.

Kentucky most recently lost to No. 14 Oakland in the first round of the 2024 men's NCAA Tournament, which came as a colossal disappointment to the program.

The Wildcats haven't reached the second weekend of the tournament since 2019 and haven't made a Final Four since 2015, which they lost to Wisconsin.

Arkansas, on the other hand, most recently went 16-17 and didn't qualify for the Big Dance after reaching the Sweet 16 last season as a No. 8 seed.

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