Here's what John Calipari's $86 million 'lifetime' contract at Kentucky actually looks like

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Jack Baer
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Thanks to UCLA basketball’s bumbling attempts to hit a home run with its head coach hire, Kentucky coach John Calipari was able to negotiate what was reported as a “lifetime” contract to stay in Lexington earlier this year.

With its announcement of the deal, Kentucky explained just what that meant on Thursday. The quick summary: Calipari is going to be receiving massive checks as both an active and former coach.

John Calipari’s $86 million contract

As was reported when word of the deal first got out, Calipari’s “lifetime” deal is actually a 10-year deal with a guarantee of a cushy athletic department job once the currently 60-year-old coach decides to hang up his whistle.

Per Kentucky, the total deal is valued at $86 million, with a base salary of $400,000 and total compensation starting at $8 million and eventually reaching $9 million. That might actually be a step down in pay for Calipari given that USA Today has him currently making nearly $9.3 million per year, but the value of the deal goes beyond cash.

Starting with the sixth year of the contract, Calipari has the option to step down as coach and become “special assistant to the athletics director/university representative,” a title that receives $950,000 per year.

Calipari’s contract has plenty of perks

In addition to your standard insurance and vacation benefits, Calipari will also receive the use two “late-model, quality automobiles,” membership and paid dues for a local country club and 20 free “prime, lower-level” tickets at every basketball game, home or away.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 03:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during the 2016 Naismith Awards Brunch at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 3, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
John Calipari's contract includes a plan for his retirement from coaching. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

The only monetary incentive found in Calipari’s contract is a $50,000 bonus if his team posts an Academic Progress Rate above 975, which has been accomplished every year since 2013.

In the buyout department, Calipari continues to not have one. However, there is an interesting provision that Calipari must inform the athletic director if he is ever approached about a possible job. So if a school, or NBA team, wants Calipari, it simply needs to convince him to leave a storied program that knows about the discussions, pays him nearly $10 million and treats him like a king.

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