OFFICIAL: John Calipari announced as Arkansas head coach

Several days after the news first broke, Arkansas has made it official: John Calipari is the Razorbacks’ new head coach. He leaves Kentucky after fifteen seasons, winning 410 games, going to four Final Fours and winning the National Championship in 2012.

“By all accounts, John Calipari is one of the premier coaches in college basketball,” AD Hunter Yurachek said. “A national championship coach, a four-time national coach of the year and one of the nation’s top recruiters, Coach Cal has consistently demonstrated his ability to attract outstanding talent and build championship teams within the Southeastern Conference and position his programs among the best in the nation.

“As I visited with Coach Calipari during this process, he acknowledged the tremendous opportunity we have at the University of Arkansas to attract and retain top players and compete for championships. He understands the deep passion of the Razorback Nation and has experienced the tremendous home court advantage of Bud Walton Arena. I have no doubt that under Coach Calipari’s leadership and with the collective support of all those who love the Hogs, Razorback Basketball will continue to maintain its national prominence within college basketball.”

The move is a significant one across the college basketball world, opening up one of the premier jobs in the country after it seemed there would not be any coaching change in Lexington. Calipari, 65, had found himself on the hot seat in Big Blue Nation, winning just one total NCAA Tournament game in the last four years despite continuing to bring plenty of NBA talents to UK. The school would have owed him $33 million if they fired him, but leaving on his own accord will cost Cal (and Arkansas) nothing.

The Hall of Fame coach also led the programs at Memphis (2000-09) and UMass (1988-96) and served as the head coach of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets for three years (1996-99). A hallmark of his career has always been his ability to recruit and coach future NBA players, something that brought him success at previous jobs and landed him in Lexington in 2009. He continued to field teams filled with some of the best freshmen in the country, eventually winning it all in 2012 with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague. Other stars that played for Cal at UK include John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Julius Randle, Devin Booker, Karl Anthony-Towns, Jamal Murray, Bam Adebayo, De’Aarom Fox Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyler Herro, Tyrese Maxey, and many more.

Calipari replaces Eric Musselman, who left Fayetteville after five seasons to become the head coach at USC. The Razorbacks had a down year in 2023-24, missing the NCAA Tournament at 16-17 (6-12), but went to two Elite Eights and one Sweet Sixteen in the three years prior.


credit to Arkansas Athletics for the image