John Calipari agreed Tuesday to leave Memphis and the dominant program he built and take on the challenge - and riches - of returning Kentucky to glory.
Calipari, 50, will receive an eight-year, $31.65 million deal plus incentives, the university said, eclipsing the $3.5 million average salary of Florida's Billy Donovan to become the highest-paid coach in college basketball. The school, which fired Billy Gillispie on Friday after two seasons, also will pay Memphis a $200,000 buyout.
The Tigers offered a more lucrative package than Kentucky's to lure him to stay, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
Considered a top-flight recruiter, Calipari put together turnarounds at Massachusetts and Memphis in 17 seasons, leading both schools to a Final Four. He coached nine seasons at Memphis and was 137-14 in his past four. His career record is 445-140.
Kentucky finished 22-14 this year, missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.
Maryland: : Top recruit Lance Stephenson hit the pause button again in announcing his college choice. The 6-foot-6 guard-forward from Brooklyn, N.Y., confirmed during media day for the McDonald's All-American Game in Miami that the Terps, Kansas and St. John's remain his top three schools.
Et cetera:: Mike Anderson has agreed to a new seven-year contract and will remain Missouri's coach. ESPN.com reported that Anderson, who had been mentioned for vacancies at Georgia and Memphis after leading the Tigers to the Elite Eight, will earn between $1.3 million and $1.5 million annually. ... Virginia Commonwealth has chosen Florida assistant coach Shaka Smart, 32, as its coach, a school official told the Associated Press.