Local News

Sources: Calipari Visits N.C. State, Mulls Memphis Offer

Posted April 11, 2006 5:34 a.m. EDT

— Rick Barnes decided to remain at Texas. Now, North Carolina State reportedly has turned its attention to Memphis coach John Calipari.

The search for Herb Sendek's successor is about 10 days old. According to various reports, Barnes turned down an offer of more than $2 million a season from N.C. State athletic director Lee Fowler.

Barnes is close to a new deal with the Longhorns that includes a significant raise.

Soon after getting spurned by Barnes, Fowler and school chancellor James Oblinger flew to Memphis to talk with Calipari, a meeting that reportedly lasted about two hours.

Sources tell WRAL that Calipari and his staff traveled to Raleigh Monday night to visit N.C. State, but The Commercial Appeal in Memphis said in Tuesday's editions that Calipari remained in Memphis.

On Tuesday, Memphis reportedly made its counter-offer to Calipari. It's reportedly an offer of $1.5-$1.7 million, which will put it in the ballpark with N.C. State. He also has a $2.5 million annuity that will mature in 2010.

Something that has reportedly miffed Calipari is that the offer has come late in the game. After the Memphis team went to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, he was offered what he felt was just a token raise, and he reportedly felt that he deserved more after the season his team had.

Meanwhile, a prominent Memphis booster named Rick Spell told The Commercial Appeal, “If it's best for John to go to N.C. State, then that's what I want him to do, though there are a lot of people advising him that's it's not the best business decision for him. But I just want him to make the best decision without emotion involved.”

Calipari didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press, and neither did Memphis AD R.C. Johnson.

Fowler has remained quiet throughout the process.

"Lee is going about this the right way," said Bobby Purcell, executive director of the Wolfpack Club, the private fundraising arm of the N.C. State athletic department. "He's taking his time. I know he's going to find the right coach for N.C. State."

Sendek was 191-132 in 10 seasons with the Wolfpack, and he led them to appearances in the NCAA tournament during each of his final five seasons. That tied the late Jim Valvano for the best run in school history.

Sendek was introduced as the new coach at Arizona State on April 3.