John Calipari is well-known throughout the college hoops world for his coaching success at Kentucky basketball. However, the highly coveted coach became caught in rumors suggesting he might leave for the Arkansas basketball program. Those rumors quickly turned into confirmation.

In a stunning move, Calipari and Arkansas have reportedly agreed on a five-year contract deal that lands him the Razorbacks head coaching position, ESPN's Pete Thamel reports.

Calipari has enjoyed tremendous success with Kentucky, but he had a lot of admiration for the Arkansas basketball program. Namely, he reportedly has always held the Arkansas head coaching job with high regard, according to USA Today's Dan Wolken.

Calipari's admiration was strong, and now, he looks to help take Arkansas to the next level after a stellar 15-season stint at Kentucky.

The Wildcats were a force during Calipari's tenure. He joined the program in 2009, and since then, has helped Kentucky remain a national contender. Calipari has led the team to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances including a title in 2011-12.

Nevertheless, Kentucky's 2023-24 season did not go as planned. The team earned another March Madness trip as the third seed in the South region but shockingly lost 80-76 to Oakland in the first round. The loss extended Kentucky's several-year Final Four cold streak, as the last time they advanced was in 2014-15.

The disappointing end to the season further fueled Calipari's exit rumors. Yet, that did not stop him from making plans for the future. In late March, Calipari discussed Kentucky's plans to improve the team, especially since its star guards are likely to leave for the NBA Draft.

Calipari claimed that Kentucky needed one of its guards (Reed Sheppard and/or Rob Dillingham) to return to stay competitive. If not, the program would search for “older, talented players” in the transfer portal. Moreover, the head coach seemed eager to avenge the 2023-24 season, but his efforts will be in Fayetteville rather than Lexington.

John Calipari looks to elevate Arkansas basketball after legendary Kentucky run

Make no mistake, Calipari is the ultimate competitor. He acknowledged so after his former team's stunning Round of 64 loss.

“Hurting. Our team — players, staff, their families —we're all hurting. I'm hurting for them. I'm hurting for our fans, and I know many fans out there are hurting. But I want to say: No one is hurting more than me right now,” Calipari, per The Spun.

Moreover, the longtime head coach expressed a desire to coach with the highest standards.

“My standard is we're playing to play deep into the NCAA Tournament and compete for national titles. And win national titles. I wanted this job knowing that was the case. I love this job knowing that was the case,” Calipari added.

Calipari's winning mindset will seamlessly transfer to Arkansas. The Razorbacks were previously served by former Head Coach Eric Musselman, who led the team to three Sweet 16 appearances from 2021-2023. Musselman departed the program for USC after a subpar season.

Arkansas finished 2023-24 with a record of 16-17 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. Nevertheless, John Calipari aims to restore the program to major heights in search of a national championship.

All in all, it is shocking to see Calipari leave Kentucky, but his legacy will not be forgotten by fans. He looks forward to a new journey with his new SEC home.