The UCLA basketball program hired Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin to be its new head coach. But before the Bruins settled on bringing Cronin to the West Coast, they reportedly looked at a number of high-profile head coaches across the country with the hope of luring them to one of college basketball’s blueblood programs.
According to reports, the candidates UCLA reached out to included Villanova’s Jay Wright and Kentucky’s John Calipari.
With Calipari, the deal was a six-year contract offer.
Per Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Multiple meetings between UCLA and Calipari ensued, and the Bruins eventually agreed to satisfy all of the coach’s demands, according to two people familiar with the search but not authorized to speak about it publicly.
Among them were a contract that would pay Calipari $45 million over six seasons, a $1.7-million pool for assistant coaches, eight new staff positions, private planes for the use of the team and its coaches, and a monthly catered meal for Calipari’s staff and players. Negotiations progressed to the point that Rebholz reached out to donors, seeking money to help cover all the new expenditures that Calipari’s hiring would entail, according to people familiar with Calipari’s requests.
Calipari is comfortable with his current gig, so luring him away from Lexington would have been a tough task.
And luckily for the Bruins, they landed a talented and consistent head coach. If Cronin can build the consistency in Los Angeles that he had on the East Coast, the Bruins program could finally be heading towards the turnaround it has been longing for.