N.C. State in serious negotiations with Memphis' Calipari
Just when it was starting to slow down, the coaching carousel has picked up its biggest name yet: John Calipari.
Calipari, the Memphis coach, is in serious negotiations with North Carolina State about becoming its next coach, according to a source close to the Wolfpack. N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler flew into Memphis on Sunday on Wolfpack booster Wendell Murphy's private plane. An offer is on the table, the N.C. State source said.
If Memphis loses Calipari, it appears Memphis will have only itself to blame. Two weeks ago, Calipari told the Memphis Commercial Appeal he didn't want to leave the Tigers. Although Missouri and Indiana were making back-channel inquiries -- Missouri was preparing to make an offer in the $1.7 million range -- Calipari didn't want to face a choice. He wanted, he told that newspaper, to have Memphis do the right thing.
"They've always been more than fair to me, so I don't expect anything other than that (Memphis) is going to be more than fair," he told the paper. "I want to be the coach here. I think they want me to be the coach here. Let's just go."
Instead, after Calipari led the Tigers to one of the best seasons in program history -- 33 wins, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a spot in the Elite Eight -- Memphis offered Calipari a roughly 5 percent raise from his base salary of $1.035 million.
Now with N.C. State in the picture, Memphis will have to pay at least $1.5 million annually to match N.C. State's offer. The Wolfpack source didn't know what Memphis was trying to do for Calipari, but made it clear that Murphy -- the N.C. State booster -- was going to do what he could to get Calipari to Raleigh.