Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd mentioned as possible John Calipari replacement candidate at Kentucky

Apr 8, 2024, 11:51 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm

Tommy Lloyd...

Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during practice ahead of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 20, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats fans have reason to be triggered by the news that Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari could be departing for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Arizona’s football team felt the third-degree impact of Nick Saban stepping down from Alabama just months ago. Then, it was a domino effect when the Crimson Tide hired head coach Kalen DeBoer away from Washington, who was subsequently replaced by then-Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch.

Calipari could make an SEC-to-SEC school jump, opening up one of the most prominent college basketball gigs for a new hire.

And Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd is at least mentioned as a replacement candidate on several lists across the internet.

Who thinks Tommy Lloyd could replace John Calipari as Kentucky head coach?

USA Today’s Dan Wolken has Lloyd among his “top tier” candidates to follow Calipari.

The numbers speak for themselves. In three seasons as a head coach, Lloyd is 88-20 at Arizona with two trips to the Sweet 16. And at age 49, he’s probably just getting started. Though he recently signed a new deal with the Wildcats, this is a bit of an unstable time at Arizona with school-wide budget issues, an upcoming conference change from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 and a new athletics director in Desiree Reed-Francois. Though it would cost a lot of buyout money to get Lloyd out of that deal – upwards of $12 million – it’s worth it if you think he’s the guy who can deliver championships.

Wolken lists Baylor coach Scott Drew, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl and Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams along with Lloyd in the tier of best candidates.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello mentioned Lloyd under potential candidates but also explains why it might not happen.

He has been a West Coast guy all his life, and he also just signed a contract extension through 2029.

Lloyd isn’t on other lists

For The Courier-Journal, USA Today SEC columnist Blake Toppmeyer does not list the Wildcats’ Lloyd as a potential Calipari successor.

Toppmeyer instead names Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, Alabama’s Nate Oats, Illinois’ Brad Underwood, Pearl and the Chicago Bulls’ Billy Donovan as five candidates.

CBS Sports’ Cameron Salerno’s list includes Oats, Donovan, UConn’s Dan Hurley, BYU’s Mark Pope, St. John’s and former UK coach Rick Pitino and Drew as candidates.

Borzello likewise touches on Hurley, Donovan, Oats, Pearl, Pitino and Pope. He also mentions Xavier’s Sean Miller, who coached at Arizona from 2009-21, former Villanova coach Jay Wright and Iowa State’s T.J. Otzelberger.

Arizona Basketball

Arizona baseball won the final Pac-12 tournament championship on Saturday. (@ArizonaBaseball/X phot...

Associated Press

Arizona baseball walks off USC in final Pac-12 title game

Tommy Splaine lined an RBI single in the 9th inning as Arizona rallied from a 3-run deficit to beat USC in final Pac-12 title game.

1 day ago

Duke's Kyle Filipowski drives in on Houston's J'Wan Roberts in the second half of the sweet 16 roun...

Ryan Pasiecznik

ESPN mock draft has Suns taking Duke’s Kyle Filipowski

Duke center Kyle Filipowski could entice the Suns as a center of the future. Phoenix owns the No. 22 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

2 days ago

Arizona basketball coach Tommy Lloyd...

Arizona Sports

Report: Big 12’s Arizona, Big Ten’s UCLA finalizing men’s basketball series

The loss of the Pac-12 brought the loss of rivalries. The Arizona Wildcats and UCLA Bruins men's basketball teams are keeping theirs intact.

5 days ago

Chip Hale...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Arizona baseball’s Chip Hale wins Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Arizona Wildcats baseball coach Chip Hale was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the 2024 season.

6 days ago

KJ Lewis...

Nick Borgia

KJ Lewis announces return to Arizona for sophomore season

Arizona basketball guard KJ Lewis announced his official return to the Wildcats for his sophomore season in a social media post Friday.

10 days ago

Wide receiver Elijhah Badger #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils catches a 65-yard touchdown recepti...

Arizona Sports

Former ASU WR Elijhah Badger transfers to Florida after considering Arizona

Former Arizona State wide receiver Elijhah Badger is transferring to Florida, choosing the SEC school after considering Arizona.

10 days ago

Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd mentioned as possible John Calipari replacement candidate at Kentucky