John Calipari responds to UCLA rumor, says his plan is to retire at Kentucky

It’s March, which means it’s NCAA Tournament time — and John Calipari coaching rumors time.

This year, Calipari reportedly is interested in leaving Kentucky for UCLA, which needs a full-time replacement for the fired Steve Alford. According to 247Sports.com, there’s “buzz” about a possible Calipari move:

According to various sources, the Hall of Fame coach is showing what some have described as “serious interest” in coming to Westwood.

Calipari responded Wednesday night on Twitter, pledging allegiance to Big Blue Nation:

Before I go to bed, let me just say this: I’m coaching at the Univ. of Kentucky. In my opinion, there is no better job in the world to coach basketball. My plan and my desire is to retire at Kentucky. I think the university feels the same as I do and we’ve talked openly about it.

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Calipari’s name has come up regularly over the past few years when there have been openings in the NBA. A partial list of the times he has said no to the pros:

In 2017, he told Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy he was not interested in replacing Phil Jackson as the Knicks’ president.

In 2016, he tamped down rumors he was leaving UK for the Nets, Kings and Lakers.

In 2015, he reportedly turned down $80 million to coach the LeBron James-Kyrie Irving Cavaliers, and he also reportedly said no to the Pelicans.

Calipari, 60, is signed through 2024 after agreeing to a two-year contract extension in 2017. He is making $8 million a season to coach the Wildcats, who will face Abilene Christian on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

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