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Arkansas Razorbacks Hire John Calipari


It’s official. Hall of Fame coach John Calipari is the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team.

The University of Arkansas confirmed the hiring of Calipari on Wednesday after its board of trustees approved a five-year contract worth more than $7 million per year at a special meeting.

Calipari will be introduced at a fan event at 6 p.m. Wednesday (April 10) in Bud Walton Arena. The event is free and open to the public.

UA officials said parking is available for the announcement event in lots 46, 56, 56B, and 60.

Fans have also been invited to cheer Calipari’s arrival in Fayetteville at Drake Field Airport. According to a social media post, Calipari is set to arrive at the airport at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Calipari’s contract could be extended by up to two years with two NCAA tournament appearances through 2031. The contract also includes a $1 million signing bonus and “retention bonuses” of $500,000 each year of the contract, as well as additional incentives for reaching the NCAA tournament, reaching the second round, Sweet 16, Final Four, or winning a national championship.

“By all accounts, John Calipari is one of the premier coaches in college basketball,” said UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek in a release. “A national championship coach, a four-time national coach of the year and one of the nation’s top recruiters, Coach Cal has consistently demonstrated his ability to attract outstanding talent and build championship teams within the Southeastern Conference and position his programs among the best in the nation.

“As I visited with Coach Calipari during this process, he acknowledged the tremendous opportunity we have at the University of Arkansas to attract and retain top players and compete for championships. He understands the deep passion of the Razorback Nation and has experienced the tremendous home-court advantage of Bud Walton Arena. I have no doubt that under Coach Calipari’s leadership and with the collective support of all those who love the Hogs, Razorback Basketball will continue to maintain its national prominence within college basketball.”

Calipari will replace Eric Musselman, who announced he was taking the head coaching job at USC last Thursday after five years as the head Hog.

In 15 seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari compiled a 410-123 record, with one National Championship and three other final four appearances at Kentucky. He also won 12 total SEC titles during his time in Lexington.

Calipari has coached 58 players who have been selected in the NBA Draft, including 41 first-round picks and 27 lottery picks.

He is currently the winningest active coach in men’s college basketball with a record of 855-263 (.765).

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Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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