Sources: John Calipari to Join Arkansas

Legendary coach John Calipari is set to leave Kentucky. Late Sunday night, sources reported that Calipari is finalizing a five-year deal with Arkansas — an SEC rival.

At Kentucky, Calipari’s contract called for him to make a base salary of $8.5 million. According to sources, Arkansas won’t be meeting that number but the deal is expected to feature incentives that could result in Calipari topping the $8.5 million mark.

While the move may come as a shock to many, Calipari has ties to the university — namely his friendship with billionaire John H. Tyson, who also happens to be an Arkansas benefactor.

Arkansas had an opening following Eric Musselman’s decision to leave to coach the USC Trojans. Sources revealed that Hunter Yurachek — Arkansas’ athletic director — spoke with Chris Beard (Ole Miss) and Jerome Tang (Kansas State) before pursuing Calipari.

Calipari had been with Kentucky since 2009. The icon led the Wildcats to four Final Four appearances in his first six years in Lexington — including a National Championship triumph in 2012. However, the past few years have soured the relationship between the coach and the university. In recent years, Kentucky has lost to 15-seed St. Peter’s and 14-seed Oakland.

The deal is expected to be finalized within 24 hours.