Memphis coach sees great opportunities

NEW YORK -- Memphis coach John Calipari will sign a contract extension that will take him through 2010, a reliable source has told ESPN's Dick Vitale. He's close to solidifying the deal, and he should sign it within the next 10 days.

With the recently announced departures of five key Conference USA schools to the Big East, some observers thought Calipari would also bolt, since Memphis is one of the few high-profile hoop schools left in C-USA.
With this new deal, Calipari wants to quell those rumors immediately.

After his success at UMass, Calipari coached the New Jersey Nets for two-plus seasons. Hired by Memphis in March 2000, he's now in his fourth season with the Tigers, who he led to the 2002 NIT championship.

Calipari believes he can build a national program at Memphis despite the five defections, and dominate C-USA in the process, which would lead to opportunities for trips to the NCAA Tournament year in and year out. He's excited about the possibilities, he said, seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

Already, Calipari has an outstanding recruiting class for next year, led by a commitment from blue-chip guard Darius Washington of Orlando.