Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The John Calipari Era Officially Begins At UK

When Rick Pitino took over the UK program back in 1989, it was the best beginning of a coaching era I have ever seen. John Calipari topped that performance this morning.

He didn't just say all the right things, he said them with confidence yet humility. He seeks immediate greatness, but does not consider himself a miracle worker. He displays a Northeast attitude that's been wiped down with Southern charm.

The only problem with this morning's introductory news conference is that it came two years too late.


People keep asking me if I think Calipari is the right coach for Kentucky. I don't know the answer to that long term, but I think he's a perfect fit for right now.

He is exactly what UK fan, uh I mean, the program needs in the wake of the Billy Gillispie debacle. Fans and, more specifically, recruits need to believe in UK Basketball again. The program has more doubters right now than Congress.

Is Kentucky still one of the best jobs in the country? Do the best players in the country still want to play there? Will the Cats ever achieve the same level of success they experienced in the 1990's?

Those are all legitimate questions right now. And basketball insiders all across the country have been asking those questions for the last couple of years.

It's now up to Calipari to prove that the answer to all those questions is not just a yes, but a resounding one!


As I watched John Calipari answer questions this morning, I couldn't help but to think about UK fan. You know the person.

UK fan cares more about the program than most of those who played for the school.

UK fan finds talking about the Cats more important than discussing their own family issues.

UK fan would rather UK win a national champion than receive a promotion at work.

Yes, that's how devoted UK fan is to the program.

Well, UK fan, did you finally get the coach you wanted? Did you get a coach that can charm candy away from a baby and appear in the right doing in doing so? Did you get a coach that can talk a mean game as well as coach one?

I hope the answer is yes, especially for your sake. You've tortured yourself enough the last two seasons.


I do have one plea for UK fan though.

Please, please, please do not treat this man as if he's some type of basketball deity. His name is John Calipari, not Jesus Christ. Hell, he's not even one of the disciples.

He's just a man who coaches basketball--nothing more, nothing less. I was so glad he said as much during today's question and answer session.

We all know how loving and accepting UK fan can be, but before you start giving Calipari your undivided devotion, how about letting the man earn it? Now, I think he will. He will bring some of the top players in the country to Lexington, and the Cats will win games.. lots of them.

But remember how crazy everyone went over Billy Gillispie? He came to Lexington with more fanfare than President Obama received in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day. And we all remember how the ill-fated Gillispie era turned out.

We all want Kentucky to be great again. But give Calipari the opportunity to earn his greatness instead of just anointing him with it.

1 comment:

Kelli McCallum said...

Well said. Calipari exceeded this Kentucky fan's expectations this morning. I appreciated his candor in balancing the time it will take to build the program with the excitement that we all now share for the future! I no longer live in Kentucky but I swear I can hear the collective sighs of relief from two states away. Ahhh....