LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari (pictured) and football head coach Mark Stoops have each agreed to two-year extensions to their respective contracts, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on Wednesday, March 22
The amendment to Calipari’s contract extends his deal from March 30, 2022 to March 30, 2024. Calipari’s total guaranteed compensation -- including base salary, media/endorsement payments and retention bonuses -- will be $8 million for the amended term. The total guaranteed compensation will increase to $7.75 million for the 2017-18 season and $8 million for each season thereafter.
“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Barnhart said. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball. We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”
Calipari is in his eighth season as Kentucky’s head coach. Under his leadership, the Wildcats will make their sixth appearance in the Sweet 16 on Friday vs. UCLA. UK swept the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships in 2016-17, giving Calipari 29 combined regular-season and tournament conference titles in his career. That total ranks second among active coaches. Calipari has also guided UK to four appearances in the Final Four, including the 2012 national championship. Calipari has registered four 30-win seasons at UK and he has 10 total seasons with 30 or more wins, the second most of any coach in NCAA Division I history. The 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee has a record of 248-52 at UK and has coached 28 players who have gone on to be selected in the NBA Draft.
“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”
The amendment to Stoops’ contract extends his deal from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2022. Stoops’ contract provides for total guaranteed compensation of $3.5 million for the current year. The total increases $250,000 in each successive year, including the two years added as part of this amendment.
“The last four years have been a grind for Mark and his staff, but he has never wavered in his commitment to building Kentucky football into a consistent winner,” Barnhart said. “While the work isn’t close to finished, we believe Mark is the coach to take us there. We are thankful to Mark and Chantel for all they have done to this point and we look forward to our program’s bright future under his leadership.”
Stoops completed his fourth season as UK’s head coach in December, which culminated in a trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl, the program’s first appearance in a bowl game since the 2010 season. The Wildcats tied for second place in the SEC Eastern Division, the team’s highest finish since the league split into divisions in 1992. His tenure has been marked by steady improvement on the field, fueled by some of the most highly regarded recruiting classes ever seen in Lexington. In February, Stoops signed a 2017 class rated No. 26 overall by Rivals, UK’s fifth straight class ranked No. 34 or better. UK’s top-ranked class prior to Stoops’ arrival, according to Rivals, was rated No. 36.
“I want to thank Dr. (Eli) Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and the Board of Trustees for their continued support,” Stoops said. “When we came here, doing a rebuild in a challenging situation, I said that full support from everyone involved was imperative and we have always received that. We needed great commitment, we’ve had great commitment and we’re continuing to get great commitment.”
The only incentive included in Calipari’s contract is related to the performance of the men’s basketball team in the Academic Progress Rate, a metric created by the NCAA to measure academic eligibility, retention and graduation. This amendment increases the threshold for the incentive from 950 to 975 in single-year APR beginning with the 2017-18 season. The bonus will remain unchanged at $50,000. The men’s basketball team earned a perfect APR of 1,000 during the 2014-15 academic year, the most recent year announced by the NCAA.
The amendment also adds a compensation review to Calipari’s contract in June 2022. At that time, UK’s athletics director and Calipari will hold a meeting to evaluate market conditions related to the compensation of other intercollegiate coaches. If it is determined that Calipari’s compensation is no longer comparable to its relative position in the marketplace, a new amendment will be negotiated.
Should UK terminate the agreement for convenience, Calipari will be due $5 million per year remaining on the contract.
In Stoops' case, in addition to the two-year extension, the amendment adds an automatic extension opportunity to the contract. If the football team wins at least seven games but no more than nine games in a season, the term of the agreement will extend one year. If the football team wins at least 10 games, the term of the agreement will extend two years. For each additional automatic extension year, the total guaranteed compensation will increase by $250,000 from the immediately preceding year.
This amendment also increases the threshold for the incentive Stoops has the opportunity to receive based on the team’s annual APR from 950 to 975. The payout for the incentive will remain $50,000.
The amendment also brings changes to other incentive compensation. Stoops will receive $100,000 if the football team participates in the SEC Championship Game and $200,000 if the football team wins the SEC Championship. Payments for this incentive are not cumulative. In the current agreement, Stoops would have received $200,000 for any SEC Championship Game appearance, regardless of outcome.
Stoops also now has the opportunity to earn incentive compensation based on participation in the College Football Playoff. If the football team participates in a “New Year’s Six” bowl game (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta or Peach), Stoops will receive $200,000 as a new incentive. If the football team participates in a CFP semifinal game, Stoops will receive $300,000 as a new incentive. If the football team participates in the national championship game, Stoops will receive $400,000, compared with $200,000 in the current agreement. If the football team wins the national championship, Stoops will receive $500,000 as a new incentive. Payments for this incentive are not cumulative.
Other new incentive payments will be triggered based on bowl game participation. Stoops will now receive $50,000 if the football team wins six games and participates in a non-SEC affiliated bowl game. Stoops will now receive $100,000 if the football team wins six games and participates in an SEC-affiliated bowl game. Per the amendment, Stoops will no longer receive $125,000 if UK participates in a bowl game that provides more than $2 million in receipts.
Stoops will continue to receive $250,000 for each win beginning with the seventh win of each season and $50,000 per semester in which the team grade-point average is 2.75 or higher.
Should UK terminate the agreement for convenience, UK will pay Stoops 75 percent of the remaining guaranteed compensation on the contract. Should Stoops terminate for convenience, he will pay $1 million to UK.
NOTE: Compensation for all head coaches is funded privately and entirely by UK Athletics, with no additional funds coming from the university or any foundation.
Photo by Ron Morrow