John Calipari rarely misses an opportunity to twist the knife a little when those who feel comfortable blasting him for everything from recruiting violations (he's never even been accused of any) to teams with academic issues, to defamatory falsehoods about class attendance. The old saying is, what goes around, comes around.
Courtesy of John Clay's Big Blue Links, we find this story in the Lexington Herald-Leader today by none other than Jerry Tipton, where Calipari "reluctantly" revealed the men's basketball team's cumulative GPA for the last semester:
While chastising the "local media" for seeking the grade-point averages of University of Kentucky sports teams, UK basketball coach John Calipari noted Wednesday that the men's basketball team had a 3.14 GPA for the spring semester of 2011. Calipari saluted the players for succeeding on the court and in the classroom in the 2010-11 school year.
Just a quick question for Jerry -- why the scare quotes around "local media?"
Nevertheless, this is Calipari at his best. You would think that a coach that had been reviled nationally when the 2009-10 team posted an ugly 2.025 cumulative mark for the 2009 fall semester (also faithfully reported by Tipton -- I think I'm getting the scare quotes now, aren't you?) could not wait to get such a massively improved number out into the public. But Calipari is far too smart for that -- he knew that reporters would be digging for this as soon as it was available from the University in hopes of generating another national media sensation, but you had to figure that with a couple of outstanding students on this year's club, they were braced for this bit of disappointment.
This has to be an especially sweet story for Calipari after Bobby Knight recently defamed him in public, and later offered an
non-apology. I'm sure this makes Knight hate Kentucky all the more, and quite frankly, I am very pleased about that. Sooner or later that hate will consume the former IU head coach, and we will watch Knight self-immolate before our very eyes.
Kudos to Coach Cal for making them beg, and then twisting the knife. There will no doubt be other seasons when the news won't be as good on the GPA front, but it certainly will make fans feel better to see Calipari stick it to Jerry Tipton a little. I personally think Tipton is a good, if negative reporter, but many UK fans loathe him, and not completely without justification as he seems to prefer to focus on stories that are more often characterized as "bad news." If there is a more media-savvy coach in the country than Calipari, I'd like to meet him.
Beating up of reporters aside, this is very good news for UK and even though the national media will understandably greet this with a yawn, it will probably wind up getting a little press if only for the contrast. In any case, it is good news for Coach Cal and good news for the team, and we can only hope that this becomes the norm rather than a rarity.
Kudos to Coach Cal and the basketball team for a job well done.