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Arkansas posts new signage hailing John Calipari at Bud Walton Arena

FaceProfileby:Thomas Goldkamp04/09/24
What's Next For Kentucky, Why John Calipari Poaching Uk's Recruiting Class Isn't A Done Deal | 04.09.24

Arkansas has yet to officially name John Calipari as its new basketball coach, but that hasn’t stopped the preparations (and the celebrations) from getting underway in Fayetteville.

On Tuesday afternoon, the video graphics boards inside Bud Walton Arena had been updated to reflect the impending hire, showing Calipari in a Photoshopped red jacket.

It’s clear the Razorbacks are thrilled about the new hire and can’t wait to start the Calipari era. Check it out below.

As for his part, Calipari released a video on Tuesday afternoon outlining the situation to his fans. He noted it was simply the right time for him to step away from the Kentucky program.

“Since our season ended, Ellen and I have spent a lot of time thinking about our time here at Kentucky,” John Calipari said. “What it means to us, the friends we’ve made on that court, regional championships, conference championships, Final Fours, the national title in 2012 — it’s been a beautiful time for us.

“This is a dream job. It was my dream job. Anybody in our profession looks at the University of Kentucky and basketball and says, ‘That is the bluest of blue.’ The last few weeks we’ve come to realize that this program probably needs to hear another voice, that the university as a whole has to have another voice giving guidance about this program.

“The fans need to hear another voice. We’ve loved it here, but we think it’s time for us to step away and step away completely from the program.”

John Calipari is reportedly signing a five-year contract with Arkansas, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. The 65-year-old head coach spent 15 seasons at Kentucky, where he tallied a 410-122 record, three Final Four appearances in 2011, 2014 and 2015 and a national title in 2012.

He’ll take over as a much-ballyhooed arrival in Fayetteville, but the expectations will be high.

Despite a down year for Arkansas this winter under Eric Musselman, the Razorbacks have still reached the Sweet 16 in three of the last four years, with two trips to the Elite Eight in that four-year span.

So while John Calipari won’t be stepping into the Kentucky meat grinder, exactly, he’ll still face some lofty expectations in Arkansas.

Starting now, apparently.