Goodman: Calipari, Kentucky Are "Ideal Match"

Jeff Goodman explained why John Calipari's lifetime contract with Kentucky is good for both sides

April 02, 2019 - 9:41 am
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John Calipari has signed a “lifetime contract” with Kentucky, agreeing to coach the Wildcats until retirement – upon which he will become an ambassador for the program.

This is a wise move for both parties.

“As long as he’s in Lexington, he’s going to get paid whatever it is,” Stadium college basketball analyst Jeff Goodman said on Ferrall on the Bench. “UCLA went after him a little bit, and it’s the best thing that could happen to him because he has no interest in taking UCLA. There was no chance he was going to leave. He’s not leaving Kentucky for another college basketball job. The only way he’s leaving Kentucky is if a good NBA job opens up and wants him, and the odds of that happening and it lining up – a lot of NBA teams don’t want any part of him. The odds that a good one wants him and he wants it, it’s probably never going to happen.”

Calipari, who makes $9.2 million annually, is 305-71 (.811) in Lexington. But don’t expect Calipari, 60, to coach for another decade and beyond.

“He might only go another five years,” Goodman said. “Kentucky is not the type of job you can go into your 70s with because it is a high-stress type of situation with a lot of pressure. But John Calipari and Kentucky are the ideal match because he loves attention and they love to give it to him.”

Still, there are some in Big Blue Nation who have become disillusioned with Calipari, who has “only” one national title and hasn’t reached the Final Four since 2015.

“I was there when Auburn beat him, and I was shocked,” Goodman said, referring to Kentucky’s overtime loss in the Elite Eight on Sunday. “I was completely shocked. He did get out-coached by Bruce Pearl in that game. Bruce Pearl didn’t have their best NBA prospect. They won with experience. But (Calipari) got away from Tyler Herro in that game. He’s their best scorer.”

Herro finished with seven points in 3-of-11 shooting in the 77-71 loss. P.J. Washington had 28 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for Kentucky, but it wasn’t enough.

While the loss was disappointing, Kentucky remains one of the nation’s elite programs.

“Seven Elite 8s in 10 years. Seven. Four Final Fours. A national title,” Goodman said, rattling off Calipari’s accolades. “Could he have another one? Sure, yeah, absolutely with the talent he’s had. But be careful what you wish for if you’re Big Blue Nation. I think it’s a small fraction of Big Blue Nation that is disenchanted with John Calipari.”

Click below to listen to Goodman’s interview in its entirety.