Probably many of you have seen this by now, but Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price has just published a story about John Calipari that is more enlightening and more comprehensive than any story written to date. This is along tale, the better part of an hour in the telling, so don't go into it short on time and read every word.
I am not going to quote extensively from this article, or debate the points it raises. This is a piece that simply needs to stand on its own, be read, digested, and integrated into your understanding of the college game and how Coach Calipari fits into it.
We all know that we are imperfect, Coach Cal no less than the rest of us. The same is true of some of the other major players in this dramatic essay, which are many, and famous.
There are a couple of things I want to highlight that were particularly interesting. First off, one of the more nasty rumors about John Calipari was that he allegedly once, early in his career, tried to put a recruit off St. Johns by claiming that Lou Carnesecca, then the coach of St. Johns, had terminal cancer. This vicious rumor was the genesis of much of the coaching fraternity's antipathy toward Calipari. All involved in the matter in a position to know denied it, and Carnesecca himself says he doesn't believe it. But this part really got my attention:
Evans, the Pitt coach, remembers that it was Pitino—not Carnesecca—who brought up the rumor about Calipari and the cancer allegation at the coaches' meeting in '86. And Nathan, the Minutemen's booster, and others have told Calipari for years that Pitino's story of helping him get the UMass job and contributing to his salary is a myth.