Calipari takes UK job, saying 'Go Big Blue!'

LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari agreed Tuesday to leave Memphis and become Kentucky's coach, with a record deal that eclipses Billy Donovan's $3.5 million yearly salary at Florida.

Calipari gets a reported $35 million, including a $2.5 million signing bonus, over eight years.

Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported Tuesday evening that he received this text message from Calipari: "I am accepting the UK job! Go Big Blue, coach Cal."

Calipari, 50, is 445-140 in 17 seasons. He sought advice from ex-Kentucky coaches; Joe B. Hall said they talked about how to handle a prestigious and scrutinized job.

Rick Pitino, the coach at rival Louisville who has feuded with Calipari, never made more than $2 million a season at Kentucky.

Calipari had a monster recruiting class coming to Memphis, but could take many of those players to Kentucky. Xavier Henry said he would re-open his recruitment.

Kentucky paid Memphis a $200,000 buyout.

NIT: Baylor, Penn St. reach title game

NEW YORK — Curtis Jerrells scored 25 as Baylor beat San Diego State 76-62 at Madison Square Garden, and Penn State held off Notre Dame 67-59 in the semifinals. Baylor and Penn State meet Thursday for the title.

The Bears (24-14) matched the 1947-48 team that lost in the national title game for the second-most wins in school history.

Joe Paterno cheered on the Nittany Lions (26-11), who held Luke Harangody to 5-for-16 shooting and 17 points.

uf assistant to vcu: Florida assistant Shaka Smart will be named coach at Virginia Commonwealth, the Associated Press reported, with an announcement planned Thursday. Smart, 32, has never been a head coach. Anthony Grant, also a former UF assistant, left for Alabama.

MISSOURI: Mike Anderson, mentioned for coaching vacancies at Georgia and Memphis, agreed to a seven-year contract to remain.

Purdue: Center JaJuan Johnson, an All-Big Ten selection, will return for his junior season.

Virginia: New coach Tony Bennett will earn $1.7 million annually for five years.

fast facts

Men's Final Four

UConn vs. Michigan State, 6:07 Saturday, Ch. 10

North Carolina vs. Villanova, 8:47 Saturday, Ch. 10

Calipari takes UK job, saying 'Go Big Blue!' 03/31/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:29am]

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