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New details on UCLA’s pursuit of John Calipari

The Bruins made a strong push for Calipari, but he was never leaving Lexington for Westwood.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Towards the start of the NCAA tournament, a report came out that UCLA was courting John Calipari to take the UCLA job, which Cal refuted.

Shortly after that, talks got even more heavy that Calipari might seriously leave the Kentucky Wildcats for the UCLA Bruins.

Now, we have some details surrounding the supposed offer to Coach Cal.

A new story in the L.A Times reports that UCLA was going to pay Calipari $45 million over six years, give him $1.7 million for assistant coaches, private planes for coaches and team use, and a monthly catered meal for Cal, his staff, and his players.

Josh Rebholz, the Senior Associate AD for UCLA, started reaching out to donors seeking money to help get Calipari to UCLA.

And, as we know, Calipari shortly signed a lifetime contract with Kentucky, keeping him in Lexington until he decides to call it quits. But, while most assume Cal was just playing the Bruins for a greater pay raise from Kentucky, this report wants you to believe Cal’s interest was genuine.

Contrary to the widespread narrative that the Bruins had been played by a master tactician, the search committee felt that Calipari’s interest had been genuine, said a person close to the committee.

Now, it seems odd to me that UCLA was going to be able to afford Cal’s buyout of $25 million to get him to come out to L.A, but they could not afford Tennessee coach Rick Barnes’ $5 million buyout.

No matter, though, Cal did not leave for an inferior job in UCLA, and that’s all that matters.