Home » Forget the John Calipari-to-Texas talk. The Longhorns have found a new basketball coach.

Forget the John Calipari-to-Texas talk. The Longhorns have found a new basketball coach.

Rodney Terry and the Texas Longhorns won the Big 12 title and advanced to the Elite Eight this season.

Rodney Terry and the Texas Longhorns won the Big 12 title and advanced to the Elite Eight this season.

USA TODAY Sports

A few months ago, John Calipari’s name was prominently linked to the head coach opening at the University of Texas, a basketball program with considerable resources and a school with an ongoing desire to make a major splash nationally.

Calipari will not be the next coach of the Longhorns.

Texas has filled the position, and it did so without going outside the current staff.

According to several national reports Monday afternoon, Rodney Terry, who took over the Longhorns’ program as interim head coach following the suspension — and subsequent dismissal — of Chris Beard, has reached an agreement to become the team’s permanent head coach after nearly leading Texas to the Final Four.

The Longhorns lost to Miami on Sunday in an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game, coming up one victory shy of what would have been the program’s first Final Four in 20 years and only the second since 1947.

When it became clear that Beard would no longer be the head coach at Texas following his December arrest on a felony domestic violence charge, Calipari was one of the most prominent names linked to the job, showing up on several head coach “hot boards” from national outlets.

Much of that talk fizzled out as the 2022-23 season progressed, and by the time the postseason began there was a groundswell of support for Terry to be named the Longhorns’ permanent head coach, with the program’s current players backing him publicly.

Texas parted ways with Beard in January. Charges in the case were dropped the following month, and Beard has since been hired as the new head coach at Mississippi.

Beard was in his second season at Texas before his dismissal. He led Texas Tech to the national title game in 2019.

Terry, who turned 55 years old Monday, took over the Longhorns and led the team to a 29-9 final record, a Big 12 Tournament title and a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Texas defeated Colgate, Penn State and Xavier to advance to the Elite Eight, where it lost to Miami on Sunday.

Prior to his current stint at the school, Terry was an assistant coach at Texas for nine seasons under Rick Barnes before becoming a head coach at Fresno State and UTEP, then returning to Austin as an assistant coach under Beard starting in 2021.

The Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported Monday that Terry’s five-year deal at Texas will be worth “in the vicinity of $3 million” per season. Beard made more than $5 million per year at Texas, and he was under contract through the 2027-28 season before his dismissal.

Calipari, who turned 64 in February, just completed the fourth season of a 10-year contract extension originally signed in 2019 that goes through the 2028-29 season and will pay him around $53 million over the remaining six years of the deal. He has now been at Kentucky for 14 seasons and will be the team’s head coach for 20 years if he fulfills the remainder of his current contract.

UK has been to four Final Fours and won the 2012 national championship during his tenure, though the Cats have not advanced to the Final Four since 2015 and have not made it beyond the first week of the NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Kansas State defeated Kentucky in the second round of the tournament last week.

A few days before the Texas rumor mill heated up this past winter, Calipari was asked by the Herald-Leader about the so-called “lifetime contract” he signed following the 2018-19 season and said there was nowhere else he’d rather be coaching.

“I’m blessed to coach at Kentucky,” he said in December. “I get to coach the best players and be with the best fans and be in sold-out arenas and play all over the world in front of our fans. … I’m having a ball with it.”

Calipari has the country’s No. 1 recruiting class coming in next season, a group that includes top-10 national prospects Aaron Bradshaw, Robert Dillingham, Justin Edwards and DJ Wagner, as well as Kentucky Mr. Basketball Reed Sheppard, who is considered a top-30 recruit in the 2023 class.

Ben Roberts is the University of Kentucky men’s basketball beat writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He has previously specialized in UK basketball recruiting coverage and created and maintained the Next Cats blog. He is a Franklin County native and first joined the Herald-Leader in 2006.
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