UPDATE: ESPN confirmed it; Calipari is heading to Lexington.
With college basketball’s Final Four finally fortified, attention shifts to the other 343 programs in NCAA Division I, many of which have already begun waiting ’til next year. One program not satisfied with simply waiting was Kentucky, who could barely get Billy Gillispie out the door before putting together a plan to make a home-run hire. Specifically, that plan was a large sack of cash. They called Florida’s Billy Donovan and wafted the smell of old, sweaty money through the phone. Donovan, who already is believed to be the highest-paid coach in the college game, said no.
Memphis’ John Calipari was something of a media darling heading into this tournament–he’s such a great recruiter, he’s really put that program on the map, Memphis would have been a 1-seed had they played in the Big East–such that it almost seemed that ESPN was putting together a pitch for Calipari for anyone who was listening. Kentucky was listening, and their pile of money has seemingly found a home. How much money it actually is depends on who you ask, but it’s assumed that whatever Calipari receives will supplant Donovan as the best earner in his sport.
Update, 3:43 p.m. ET: News is now starting to permeate that Memphis has asked permission to speak with Missouri’s Mike Anderson. That’s as much of a surrender outside of a direct quote from anyone that you could ask for right now.
Update: 6:35 p.m. ET: WHAS has reported that Calipari has accepted the job at Kentucky. WLEX has confirmed that report. It’s all over but the press conference.
Press conferences are easier to win, anyway. It’s too bad that you have to blow ass for a few seasons before you can actually have one.