John Calipari confirms exit: Kentucky needs 'another voice'

Calipari announces he's stepping away from Kentucky basketball (3:50)

John Calipari announces his intentions to leave the Kentucky basketball program. (3:50)

John Calipari said Tuesday that Kentucky's men's basketball program "probably needs to hear another voice" as he inches closer to leaving Lexington to become the next head coach at Arkansas.

"It's been a beautiful time for us. This is a dream job. It was my dream job," Calipari said in a video posted to social media. "Anybody in our profession looks at the University of Kentucky in basketball and said, that is the bluest of blue. The last few weeks, we've come to realize that this program probably needs to hear another voice.

"And 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."

Arkansas and Calipari are in the final stages of making a deal, sources told ESPN's Pete Thamel, and are expected to formalize the remaining steps before an announcement in the near future.

ESPN reported Sunday night that Calipari was finalizing a five-year deal with the Razorbacks.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart followed Calipari's social media video with a statement thanking Calipari and announcing they would begin their search for a new coach.

"We're appreciative of John Calipari leading our program for the last 15 years, adding to the legacy of championship success at Kentucky," Barnhart said on social media. "We're grateful to John for his many contributions to the University, and our state, both on and off the court.

"We are working diligently to hire a proven, highly dedicated coach who embraces the importance of this program to our fans and the state of Kentucky."

Alabama's Nate Oats released a statement Monday night that he planned to stay in Tuscaloosa, while UConn's Dan Hurley made it clear after leading the Huskies to back-to-back national championships that he's also not going anywhere.

"Now you're thinking in your brain, as I'm looking at the locker room, about the chance to do it three times, like a dynasty in modern times," Hurley said after UConn's win over Purdue. "I mean, that's what I'm thinking about."

One of the biggest names in college sports for the past three decades, Calipari has been at Kentucky since 2009. He led the Wildcats to the national title in 2012 and went to four Final Fours in his first six seasons in Lexington. Kentucky then went to the Elite Eight in 2017 and 2019 but has won just one NCAA tournament game since that last run to the regional final.

Calipari established the Wildcats as a recruiting powerhouse, routinely landing top-ranked recruiting classes and sending players to the NBA draft lottery.

Calipari is 410-123 with the Wildcats.