John Calipari was a rumored possibility for the IU vacancy two years ago, and sources indicate he'd be willing to listen this time around. So what makes him a viable candidate for the IU vacancy? What makes him a long shot? HoosierNation.com has the answers...

With the IU coaching job open for the second time in two years, it's no surprise many of the same names who were mentioned as possibilities then are resurfacing now.

One of those is Memphis Coach John Calipari, the eighth-year Tigers coach who has rebuilt the once-proud program back into a national title contender. Memphis is 210-64 in his eight seasons with the program, including a 29-1 mark this season and a No. 2 ranking in the most recent AP poll.

After an unsuccessful 2 ½-year stint with the NBA's New Jersey Nets, Calipari returned to the college game in 2000 and took over a Memphis program that had produced only two 20-win seasons in the last seven years and had suffered through back-to-back losing seasons in 1999 and 2000. But Calipari immediately made an impact, leading the Tigers to a 21-15 record in 2001 and a spot in the NIT Final Four.

Things have only improved from there. In 2002 Memphis went 27-9 and won the NIT postseason crown, and in 2003 the Tigers earned their first NCAA invitation since 1996 during a 23-7 campaign. After another NCAA trip in 2004 Memphis slipped to 22-16 in 2005 and had to settle for the NIT, but they've been among the college game's most dominant teams during the last three years. Memphis went 33-4 in both 2006 and 2007 and advanced to the Elite Eight, and this year's team will soon give Calipari a third straight 30-win season.

Calipari enjoyed similar success during his first college coaching stop at UMass, where he went 193-71 in eight seasons. After inheriting a team that had suffered through 10 straight losing campaigns, the then 29-year-old Calipari went just 10-18 in his first season (1988-89). But Calipari led the Minutemen to seven straight winning seasons after that, including five straight NCAA trips from 1992-96. Each of those five teams won the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles, and the Minutemen advanced to one Sweet 16 (1992), one Elite Eight (1995), and one Final Four (1996).

That success resulted in the opportunity with the New Jersey Nets, which turned out to be the one blemish on Calipari's resume. The Nets went 26-56 in his first season and 43-39 in his second, but after a 3-17 start to his third year he was let go.

After a one-year absence from the head coaching ranks he landed at Memphis and has been winning big ever since. He signed a new $1.3 million contract in 2006 (additional shoe contracts and incentives bring his annual salary to well over $1.5 million) that now runs through 2011-12. He's also due a one-time $2.5 million "loyalty" payout by Memphis if he remains at the Conference USA school through the 2009-10 season. His buyout is only $200,000.

What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: Calipari has proven he's capable of competing for national championships in his current location. Memphis also has a huge fan following at Fed Ex Forum, drawing an average of 17,456 to games this season. He's well compensated and the toast of the town. So why leave? As well as he's done at the C-USA school, big-name coaches love the spotlight, and it is always going to shine brighter at IU than it is at Memphis. While their affiliation with Conference USA is great for the Tigers' won-loss record and national ranking, it also results in only a handful of games that draw national attention after the first of the year. The Tigers' recent No. 1 vs. No. 2 clash with Tennessee was their only game in the last two months that grabbed the nation's attention, and they had to play an out-of-conference game to make that happen. Calipari has been at Memphis for eight years (the same amount of time he was at UMass before departing), so if the price is right, Calipari could be intrigued by the opportunity to coach at one of the most storied programs in college basketball.

What Makes Him a Longshot: While Calipari has never been directly linked to any misdeeds, he's been nearby. UMass was stripped of its 1996 Final Four appearance after it was revealed that star player Marcus Camby had received improper benefits – including the use of prostitutes – from an agent. His recruiting ethics were also called into question when he hired former Louisville player Milt Wagner as his director of basketball operations soon after being hired at Memphis, despite the factor Wagner had no college coaching experience and hadn't received his college degree. Most viewed it as a move to help ensure he would sign Wagner's son, DaJuan, who was one of the top recruits in the nation. Memphis' players, meanwhile, have also had a slew of legal problems. As many of six members of his current team having had some run in with the law since arriving on campus. All of that adds up to a lot of baggage that IU might not want to deal with considering what happened with Sampson.

HoosierNation.com's Take: I've heard from reliable sources that Calipari would at least be interested in talking to Indiana. While Memphis has clearly been the better basketball program the last several years, Indiana has the sort of recruiting base, fan support and tradition that is going to get almost any coach to listen. With all of that said, I'd be stunned if this went anywhere. First of all, Calipari wouldn't come cheap. He's already bringing in more than $1.5 million annually, and he's due $2.5 million in two years if he's still the Tigers' coach. With that in mind, IU's financial package would have to be at least $2 million annually. Secondly, if Indiana is looking to clean up its image after Sampson's violations, Calipari's reputation is far from pristine. Indiana officials gambled that Sampson's misdeeds at Oklahoma wouldn't follow him to Bloomington and lost. It's hard to imagine they'd be willing to roll the dice – and pay a hefty price – with Calipari.

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