- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Kentucky has awarded men's basketball coach John Calipari with a two-year contract extension and a raise, giving him a total of eight more years with the Wildcats, the school announced Monday.
Calipari's previous contract was $31.65 million for eight years. The new deal is worth $36.5 million with the opportunity to earn performance-based incentives.
"What John Calipari has done on and off the court in the past two years to reunite and rejuvenate this fan base has been magical," athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. "He understands the responsibility that goes along with this position and there is no other coach out there that is a better fit for the best basketball program in the country."
The new contract includes a base salary of $400,000 and $3.4 million in media and endorsement money.
Calipari's former contact reduced his pay to $2.85 million over its remaining three years, which ended in 2017. The new contract brings his annual compensation up to $3.8 million each year through the 2018-2019 season, along with the million-dollar retention bonuses. He would earn a bonus totaling $700,000 for winning the NCAA championship in any of those years.
Barnhart said he wanted to align Calipari's contract to run concurrently with his own eight-year deal. He said the new contract evens out Calipari's base salary and restructures and adds some longevity bonuses to reflect the school's commitment to keeping him.
"He worked with us during this process and clearly demonstrated that he wants to be at Kentucky for a long time," Barnhart said. "We also agreed to restructure the bonus money in a fair format where success dictates the bonuses. If we reach the levels of success for Cal to receive these bonuses, we will certainly generate the revenue necessary to allocate these funds."
Calipari thanked Barnhart and university president Dr. Lee T. Todd Jr. "for this great opportunity and the Big Blue Nation for their unbelievable support.
"Ellen and I have tried to be good stewards with the blessings we have received and will continue to invest in the Commonwealth and the Lexington community," he said. "The people of Kentucky have embraced our family as one of their own and we love being here and there is no other place we'd rather be."
This latest contract improvement is another indicator that Calipari will stay at Kentucky instead of going to the NBA, as has been speculated since he arrived in Lexington. NBA teams aren't paying salaries in this range anymore, meaning Calipari has somewhat priced himself out of the professional market.
"Coach Calipari has led a remarkable turnaround of our basketball program, bringing it back to unquestioned national prominence and in a position to compete for championships on a regular basis," Todd said. "Aligning his contract with that of Mitch Barnhart creates the potential for long-term continuity in an athletics program that is performing and winning both on the court and in the classroom."
Calipari is coming off a Final Four appearance in his second year at Kentucky. He coached the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in his first season.
He was in Newark, N.J., on Thursday night for the NBA draft, where two of his recruits went in the top 10 and all four draft-eligible players were selected.
Enes Kanter of Turkey, who was ruled permanently ineligible and never played for the Wildcats, yet practiced with the team in the early fall, went No. 3 to Utah. Freshman point guard Brandon Knight was drafted eighth by Detroit.
Kentucky's incoming recruiting class was ranked No. 1 by ESPN and is led by three players in the top 10 of the ESPNU 100 for 2011, including No. 1 overall prospect Anthony Davis, No. 3 Michael Gilchrist and No. 7 Marquis Teague.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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