John Calipari was reportedly interested in the Ohio State basketball job

Before the Ohio State basketball program made the decision to hire Jake Diebler, John Calipari wanted to come to Columbus.
John Calipari speaks during the off-day press conference in Memphis. The Cats will take on North
John Calipari speaks during the off-day press conference in Memphis. The Cats will take on North / Michael Clevenger / Courier Journal /

The Ohio State basketball program fired Chris Holtmann in the middle of February. They wanted to move on and decided that was the right time for the program to make a change. In order to fire him, the Buckeyes had to pay him a massive buyout for him not to coach.

The buyout ended up being $12.8 million. That money ended up being a significant factor in who the Buckeyes decided to hire for the job afterward. Ultimately, Ross Bjork decided that Jake Diebler had done enough as the interim head coach to earn the job.

Apparently, another big-time coach was interested in coming to Columbus. In fact, he reached out to Bjork about doing so during the season. That coach is Jon Calipari, who is leaving Kentucky to head to Arkansas after 15 years with the Wildcats. He will be wearing a different shade of red other than scarlet.

One of the biggest reasons why Ohio State never pursued Calipari was his onerous buyout. Kentucky is owed $33 million in order for him to get out of his contract. With Ohio State already paying $12.8 million for Holtmann to not coach there, that was out of the question.

Whether or not Calipari would have been a good fit is another question. There's no doubt he's a good head coach. He's won a national championship and has the most talent in the NBA of any school. He's an excellent recruiter too and always seems to get the best freshmen to play for him.

But recent NCAA Tournament failures have many questioning his coaching style. Does he need to start getting a more veteran team to make deep runs? Is putting a bunch of freshmen on the court during a pressure-packed game that no one has experienced a good idea? It hasn't seemed like it in the last few years.


Calipari is now at Arkansas and the Ohio State basketball program has Jake Diebler. The timing wasn't right for Cal and Ohio State to make it work.