When Alabama coach Nick Saban retired less than two weeks into the calendar year, it created a ripple effect throughout college football that led to multiple high-major coaching changes. With John Calipari leaving his post in Kentucky to take the vacant job at Arkansas, it's expected to have a similar domino effect in the basketball coaching carousel world.

Multiple key events led to Calipari's shocking departure. The unlikely ripple effect started in Texas when SMU fired Rob Lanier after two seasons with the program. Less than two weeks later, the Mustangs announced Andy Enfield as their next coach. The former Florida Gulf Coast and USC coach had spent the last 11 seasons in Southern California before embarking on a new challenge by leading SMU into the ACC.

With USC's job open, they decided to swing for the fences to make a hire. The Trojans tabbed Arkansas coach Eric Musselman to lead their program into the Big Ten. USC poaching Musselman opened the door for the Razorbacks to hire Calipari and simultaneously opened up one of the most attractive jobs in the sport at Kentucky.

After a brief coaching search, Kentucky landed on BYU coach Mark Pope to replace Calipari. Pope started his playing career at Washington and transferred to Kentucky ahead of the 1994-95 season. He was college teammates with Jeff Sheppard, the father of Kentucky star freshman Reed Sheppard.

Here are the key events that led to Calipari ending up with Arkansas.

March 21: SMU fires Lanier after two seasons

In a surprising move, SMU elected to move on from Lanier after two seasons with the program. The Mustangs doubled their win total (10 to 20) from his first season at the head of the program and lost in the opening round of the NIT to eventual runner-up Indiana State. The former Siena and Georgia State coach was hired at SMU in 2022 after compiling a 111-100 record during his first two stops. With SMU set to join the ACC alongside Cal and Stanford this summer, SMU felt like they needed to upgrade. Lanier ended up taking the vacant job at Rice days later.

March 26: Calipari has meeting with UK AD Mitch Barnhart

Days after Kentucky's stunning loss to No. 14 seed Oakland in the NCAA Tournament, Calipari had his annual exit meeting with Barnhart. That talk concluded with the assumption that Calipari would return for his 16th season at Kentucky. Barnhart posted to social media shortly after the meeting that he could "confirm" that Calipari would return for the 2024-25 campaign. There was doubt cast over Calipari's future at the school after another early exit in the tournament, but Barnhart put those rumors to rest. Another factor (at the time) was Calipari's buyout was nearly $33 million. With Calipari leaving for Arkansas, Kentucky is off the hook from the large buyout.

April 1: Enfield replaces Lanier at SMU

Shortly after Lanier was fired, SMU zeroed in on Enfield. CBS Sports' Matt Norlander reported that the two sides started contract talks for a week before the official announcement that Enfield would be the next coach of the Mustangs. The key reason for the gap between the start of negotiations and Enfield officially accepting the job was his buyout, which dropped from $5 million to $2 million on April 1. Enfield coached six NBA picks during his time at USC, including Onyeka Okongwu (No. 6 in 2020) and Evan Mobley (No. 3 in 2021). USC star freshman Isaiah Collier will be one of the top picks in this summer's draft if he declares. Collier's teammate, Bronny James, elected to put his name in the draft while simultaneously entering the transfer portal. SMU is viewed as a potential landing spot for James if he stays in college.

April 4: USC poaches Musselman from Arkansas 

USC wasted no time finding Enfield's replacement by tabbing Musselman to lead the Trojans. The former Arkansas coach guided the program to two Elite Eight appearances and a spot in the Sweet 16 in five seasons. Arkansas had its worst showing under Musselman during the 2023-24 campaign and finished with a 16-17 record. USC opened the season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and failed to meet lofty expectations under Enfield. Musselman will have to build USC's roster from the ground up after Kobe Johnson, James, and others entered the transfer portal. Hours after Enfield left for SMU, four-star guard Trent Perry - USC's prized recruit from the 2024 recruiting cycle - requested a release from his National Letter of Intent.

April 8: Arkansas closes in on Calipari

Just before national championship game between No. 1 overall seed UConn and No. 1 seed Purdue, Arkansas shocked the college basketball world by reportedly accelerating talks to poach Calipari from Kentucky. Days later, the news became official. The news of the departure came weeks after he met with Barnhart. Arkansas pursued candidates such as Kansas State's Jerome Tang and Ole Miss' Chris Beard before deciding on Calipari to fill the void Musselman left. The former Kentucky coach is one of the best high school recruiters in the sport. In his 15 years at the school, Calipari compiled a 410-122 record with four Final Four appearances (2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015) and coached Kentucky's last national championship team in 2012.

April 9: Calipari announces he's leaving UK in video

In a video posted to social media, Calipari announced that he was officially stepping away from the UK program. 

"The last few weeks, we have come to realize this program probably needs to hear another voice," Calipari said. "That the university as a whole has to have another voice giving guidance about this program. The fans need to hear another voice. We think it's time for us to step away and step away completely from the program. There have been opportunities presented to us and we are discussing them as a family."

Calipari mentioned in the 4-minute video that he has had another opportunity presented to him -- presumably to become the next coach at Arkansas.

April 9: Kentucky begins search for coaching vacancy

The Kentucky job officially opened on Tuesday. Fifteen years ago, Kentucky poached Calipari from Memphis to lead the program and now will have to embark on another coaching search for his replacement. Early names that have popped up as Calipari's successor are Baylor coach Scott Drew, Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan, UConn's Dan Hurley, Xavier coach Sean Miller, St. John's coach Rick Pitino and BYU's Mark Pope. Whoever takes over the UK basketball program will be tasked with keeping the No. 2 overall recruiting class in the 2024 cycle. Kentucky's upcoming recruiting class features five-star center Jayden Quaintance, four-star guard Boogie Fland, four-star center Somto Cyril, four-star guard Travis Perry and four-star guard Billy Richmond. Four-star forward Karter Knox, the brother of former Kentucky star Kevin Knox ll, de-committed from the program on Monday.

April 10: Arkansas officially announces hire of Calipari 

Arkansas made the news official on Wednesday that they're hiring Calipari. Calipari's contract is for five years and starts at $7 million per season, per Arkansas, and features a maximum of two automatic rollover years for NCAA Tournament appearances that would extend him through 2031. Incentives include a $1 million signing bonus, $500,000 retention bonuses annually, and additional bonuses for making the NCAA Tournament and advancing through each round. 

"As I visited with Coach Calipari during this process, he acknowledged the tremendous opportunity we have at the University of Arkansas to attract and retain top players and compete for championships," Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. "He understands the deep passion of the Razorback Nation and has experienced the tremendous home court advantage of Bud Walton Arena. I have no doubt that under Coach Calipari's leadership and with the collective support of all those who love the Hogs, Razorback Basketball will continue to maintain its national prominence within college basketball."

April 12: Kentucky hires Pope as Calipari's replacement 

The Kentucky basketball search is over. The school hired Pope to succeed Calipari. The former Kentucky star who played under Rick Pitino at Kentucky from 1994-96, is returning to Lexington after spending the last five seasons at BYU. Pope started his career as director of basketball operations in the SEC at Georgia in 2009 under Mark Fox. He spent one season in Athens before departing for an assistant coaching job at Wake Forest. Pope landed his first head coaching job at Utah Valley six years later. After guiding Utah Valley to a 25-win campaign during the 2018-19 season, BYU hired Pope to take over the program where he spent the last five years.

"Mark Pope not only brings an impressive record in nine years as a head coach, but also a love of the University of Kentucky and a complete understanding of what our program means to the people of our state," Barnhart said in a release. "As a captain on the '96 championship team, Mark was a beloved and respected teammate. As a head coach, he is highly regarded nationally as an innovator. His teams run a unique and dynamic up-tempo offense and they get after it on defense. He is a strong recruiter with international ties and a person of integrity.