In an article for The Athletic, Seth Davis is reporting that the UCLA Bruins offered the Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari a 6-year, $48 million deal to coach the Bruins. That’s $8 million per year for those of you from Southern Cal.
It’s more than TRIPLE the $2.6 million Steve Alford made this past season.
Now, in response to the UCLA offer, Davis adds that Kentucky offered Calipari a lifetime deal, but he mentions that Kentucky granted UCLA permission to talk with Calipari because they didn’t think UCLA would be able to match the $9.2 million per year he currently makes at Kentucky. While, technically, it’s true that UCLA didn’t offer Calipari more money, an $8 million per year offer from UCLA is huge.
It doesn’t just throw out the argument that “UCLA can’t afford to hire a big name coach” right out the window. It obliterates it.
All that said, Calipari has declined the offer from UCLA.
So, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero is now on the clock. Will he panic again and hire a coach this week from a lower tier like he did when replacing Ben Howland? Or, will he patiently wait for Virginia to play in the Final Four and meet with Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett on Sunday or Tuesday of next week?
There is, of course, a third possibility, which could result in an announcement this week.
According to the USA Today Head Basketball Coaches Salary Database, the only college coaches making in excess of $4 million per year are Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Bennett, Bill Self and Chris Mack. Calipari and Krzyzewski are the only two that are north of $7 million per year. Villanova Wildcats’ head coach Jay Wright makes $3.8 million now. Would a guy like Jay Wright really turn down an offer if UCLA were to say to him, “We’re willing to double, or almost double, what you’re making now?”
UCLA may not have landed John Calipari as the Bruins’ next head coach, but it’s clear that the Bruins have the resources to make a highly competitive offer to anyone else the search committee is interested in. The Bruins just need to make the next offer an offer the coach cannot refuse.