Calipari steps down after 15 seasons as Kentucky coach

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The John Calipari era is over at Kentucky.

Calipari announced his resignation in a video posted Tuesday on social media. Calipari is expected to be named the men’s basketball coach at Arkansas later Tuesday.

“It has been a beautiful time for us,” Calipari said. “This is a dream job. It was my dream job. Anybody in our profession looks at the University of Kentucky and basketball and said, that is the bluest of blue. The last few weeks, we’ve come to realize that this program probably needs to hear another voice (and that the) university as a whole has to have another voice giving guidance about this program they adhere. The fans need to hear another voice.”

Email newsletter signup

Calipari said he “loves it here” but added that he thinks it’s “time to step away.”

“And step away completely from the program,” he said. “There have been opportunities that have been presented to us and we’re discussing them as a family. I love coaching and I love coaching young people. This year’s team, I loved walking (into practice) every day and their chase for a championship.”

Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart issued a statement through an e-mail Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re appreciative of John Calipari leading our program for the last 15 years, adding to the legacy of championship success at Kentucky,” he said. “We’re grateful to John for his many contributions to the University, and our state, both on and off the court.

“We are working diligently to hire a proven, highly dedicated coach who embraces the importance of this program to our fans and the state of Kentucky.”

Calipari has been at Kentucky since 2009. He led the Wildcats to the national title in 2012 and went to four Final Fours in his first six seasons. Kentucky then went to a pair of Elite Eights in 2017 and 2019 but has won just one NCAA tournament game since that last run to the regional final.

In 15 seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari is 410-123.

Since the Wildcats’ 80-76 loss to Oakland in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last month, Calipari said he and his wife, Ellen, have been “thinking about our time here at Kentucky — what it means to us and the friends we’ve made.”

“Again, it’s been a dream, what we’ve been able to do,” he said. “After 15 years, it’s time for another voice and you know I’m always going to be a fan.”