In a stunning development that could have the entire central Kentucky region sobbing into their coffee and shaving their heads in desperation former Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has accepted an unprecedented offer to become the new head coach at the University of Oregon.
But what may be more surprising is the dominoes that could fall following Calipari's decision. Reports have surfaced that Tom Izzo will leave the state of Michigan for the first time since a family trip to the Ozarks when he was eight years old and replace Calipari as the Wildcats' next coach. If that transpires, former Lakers coach and business mogul Earvin "Magic" Johnson is the top candidate to replace Izzo at Michigan State.
Calipari is scheduled to be introduced this afternoon at a news conference in Eugene, Oregon where he will be joined by Nike chairman Phil Knight. It is believed that Knight's influence and bottomless checkbook lured Calipari to the Pac-10. The deal is said to be for ten years at $80 million, a record deal for an NCAA Division I head coach in any sport.
"As with Memphis, it was a tough decision to leave a great program behind. But Oregon offers several opportunities. I can leave my imprint on a program in a conference that should return to glory very soon and bring them their first championship since 1939," Calipari said.
Calipari's decision likely opens the door for mega-recruits Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight to sign with the Ducks. Should Jones and Knight sign the Ducks will likely be favored to win the Pac-10 for the 2010-11 season.
Izzo and Johnson could not be reached for comment. Their decisions could have an impact on unknown phenom Apo-Francis Daye, a 7-4 center out of Zimbabwe who can dribble like a point guard, rebound with the ferocity of a rabid jackal and make thousands of Julienne fries.