Head Coach John Calipari has had a long and very successful college coaching career. He started his head coaching career at the University of Massachusetts in 1986. Coach Calipari had the Minutemen in the NIT his 2nd career, and into the NCAA tournament two years after that. And they were a staple in the NCAA tournament for the next 5 seasons until they had a Final Four run in 1995. Coach Calipari at this time was the hottest commodity in College Basketball at the time, but then there was some breaking news that brought all of that to a crushing halt. It came out that Marcus Camby had accepted money from an agent and UMass had to vacate it’s Final Four appearance and it’s wins that season.
After all of that happened, Coach Calipari went to go coach the New Jersey Nets in the NBA. That lasted for about 3 seasons before he was fired and returned to College Basketball. He made his return to Memphis in 2000, which was an immediate succsess, in his first season they were in the NIT semifinals. But that was only the begining of the sucssess as each year at Memphis he had his teams in a post season tournament. 2007 was going to be the crown jewel, after the best season he had had at Memphis and a run into championship game, everyone thought this was going to him his year to win it all. Unfortunately the Kansas Jayhawks had another idea and stole the title from him.
Sadly after that game, the NCAA started investigating Memphis and found that Derrick Rose had not taken his SAT’s and subsequently had the Memphis season and Runner up status stricken. Calipari stayed at Memphis one more season before his “Dream Job” opened up. On April 1st 2009 John Calipari was formally announced as the new head coach at the University of Kentucky. This was a hire that excited the fan base and brought in some big name recruits to the program. The following season he led Kentucky to an SEC Championship and a run in the tournament into the Elite Eight.
While he did lose a few key pieces from last season, this year Kentucky is still stacked and has made another run and are now into the Final Four. This maybe Coach Calipari’s best chance to win it all since the Memphis team that was runner up. But this has lead me to wonder, in another year or two, will this one stick? He hasn’t been at fault for any of the problems that have taken away his achievements, but he is indirectly responsible for not controlling his program better. Three times into the Final Four, with two being taken away, John Calipari has to hope that the third time is the charm and this one will stay.
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