The man has flaws; we all know that, he likes to create phrases for his strategies when there is no need for one; positionless, platoon, the tweak, this isn't communism, and others. He will call endearingly call the Big Blue Nation crazy at any opportunity.
He does not play nice with those outside of his circle and can ruffle the feather of even the staunchest members of BBN. He is a cheese ball to the Nth degree and has no problem playing the role of infomercial host for a variety of local businesses... Orange Leaf anyone?
Few coaches are as stubborn on the sidelines as he is, he even forgets about players on the bench. He also occasionally gets diarrhea of the mouth when he should probably just keep some thoughts to himself.
Of course, it is no mystery who I am talking about... John Calipari. There are factions within BBN who are glad that Coach Cal is our coach only because he has brought a lot of success to the Kentucky Wildcats. The moment he stops winning, they will turn on him with a quickness.
One thing we as a fan base need to realize is just how lucky we are to have Coach Cal in Lexington. Not only is he the most successful coach at UK besides the guy the arena is named after, but he will also be the greatest ambassador for the program in UK history.
The torch he carries and passes on to all his players is one of being servant leaders. Servant Leadership is the method of leadership that any company worth its salt should aspire to achieve. The best way to sum it up is with a picture:
Not only does he turn his players into productive community leaders, he changes family trees. Guys like Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, and Anthony Davis have changed their sons, daughters, and grandchildren's financial lives.
The counter-point to that is that "all of those guys would have gotten paid without Calipari!" Sure, but do you really think John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins would have given back $2 Million to the community without someone like Cal molding them, hardly.
"What a great thing," Coach Cal said on his Facebook page. "What DeMarcus did today and what John Wall did a couple months ago shows me that we're teaching these kids more than just basketball here."
Enough about what Coach Cal does; he wins big on the court, his players win big off the court and they give back, he contributes to Lexington outside of basketball and makes other people's lives better.
I want to discuss what the HALL OF FAME coach does NOT do.
THE CAROLINA WAY
Coach Calipari did not coach players who were enrolled in fake classes, like a certain Hall of Fame Coach in Chapel Hill. This same Hall of Fame Coach left Kansas on probation in his wake, by the way. People want to make fun of classes that athletes take and how easy the classes are, underwater basket weaving hyperbole comes to mind.
However, I do not care what classes you are taking, if you are enrolled in an actual class and even sparsely attending... that is infinitely better than being in a fake class, also known as the new "Carolina Way."
"Crowder was such a fan of UNC sports, particularly basketball, that she would sometimes miss work after a loss, the report says. It was well-known on campus that Crowder was a lax grader and gave high grades without regard for content."
Calipari's focus is actually the antithesis of the "Carolina Way."
He focuses on players attending class and progressing toward their degree. For seven of the last eight semesters, the Men's Basketball team has posted a 3.0 or higher grade point average.
Coach Calipari's motto in academics is either you go to the NBA or you graduate, if you come to Kentucky.
When you come to Kentucky, you are either going pro or getting a degree. We call it the success rate, & right now we’re batting 100 percent.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 14, 2013
"All 10 players at UK under Calipari who have been eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years have walked away with a degree in hand, while two (Jarrod Polson and Patrick Patterson) have earned a degree in just three years."
THE ‘CUSE RUNNING LOOSE
Coach Calipari was NOT suspended for 9 games for his part in a garden variety of misdeeds at his University. He did not have staff members conduct coursework for a student. He did not have staff members perpetrate emails to professors on behalf of students.
Coach Cal did not have boosters pay two basketball players more than $8,000 for VOLUNTEERING at a local YMCA.
Cal did not ignore eight years of failed drug tests in order to keep a kid on the court. You know who did do that, Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.
DON'T FORGET UCONN
Yes, Coach Cal failed to beat UCONN on two occasions when it mattered most. However, yes, Coach Cal also failed to be suspended for three games because his team manager provided benefits to a recruit that ultimately led to them signing.
Coach Cal also did not have such a low NCAA APR (academic progress rate) that his team was banned from postseason play.
You know who did that; it was Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun.
I am very proud to say that Coach Calipari did not patronize an Italian restaurant one night when a certain lady of the night was lurking. Coach Cal did NOT engage said lady in at least 15 seconds of adulterous copulation, resulting in pregnancy.
Cal did not then pay the lady to terminate his mistake and somehow get a subordinate of his to marry her. That is one of the weirdest aspects of that whole situation.
Imagine if you can, that you committed adultery with a woman only to have her get pregnant, you have it terminated, then your employee ends up randomly dating her and she is part of the group again, just hanging out at functions and stuff.
It honestly reads like a bad lifetime movie script, anyway, the point is that Coach Cal did not do this.
Fast forward and guess what else our coach did NOT do... HE DID NOT HAVE A STAFF MEMBER THAT PAID FOR HOOKERS IN THE DORMS FOR THE PLAYERS, RECRUITS, AND PARENTS OF RECRUITS.
Coach Calipari's biggest concern right now is what kind of offense he is going to run with this team. This is better than your biggest concern being shamefully run out of a sleazy institution for being too sleazy.
Big Blue Nation's biggest concern right now is what kind of bowl game will the football team make and will the basketball team be able to bring home #9.
Card Nation's (LOL) biggest concern is knowing that Bobby Petrino is the moral compass of the major UL sports programs and how many years will it take for UL Basketball to be at all relevant again.
Think about that for a second, Bobby Petrino, turd of a human being that has left nothing but scandal, cowardice, and destruction in his wake is now the bastion of hope between the two.
I say this in all sincerity, how in the world can you allow either one of those two people or any of their minions to set foot in your home. How can any parent justify allowing these "Louisville men" getting their grimy claws into their kid?
CAL'S TRANSGRESSIONS... SORT OF
You can say what you want about Coach Calipari, but he did none of the above. Coach Cal played a player that was cleared by the NCAA Twice:
"Before Derrick Rose could play basketball at the University of Memphis, the NCAA eligibility clearinghouse examined his academic records, including his standardized test score, and determined they met the minimum standards for eligibility to compete as a freshman.
Memphis accepted this verification and used Rose as the team's point guard in 40 games, 38 of which the Tigers won, including five in the NCAA Tournament."
Secondly, Coach Cal had a player take money from an NBA agent, a player that would not have been caught without Calipari being so cooperative and helpful in the investigation. Calipari discussed in detail the two situations in his book "Players First: Coaching from the inside out."
Cal said that David Didion, an enforcement officer at the time, told him without his help and getting Marcus to talk to them they never would have gotten to the bottom of the situation. Cal encouraged Marcus to talk because he foolishly thought the NCAA would be fair with him, Marcus, and the program.
Big Blue Nation can rest easy knowing they do not have to wake up knowing they are fans of any of the above "blue blood" programs. The funny thing is all those fans were the ones saying UK was the team that would get the NCAA hammer once Coach Cal was hired. Not only has he been the best on the court, he has dominated with what he "didn't do."
In the past, I would rush to defend Coach Cal for the aforementioned transgressions that fans would latch onto as if Cal had clubbed a baby seal.
Not anymore, there is no need to; in today's game, it may just be a badge of honor for all of BBN to be able to say, "yeah, you are right, Coach Cal did have those two things happen... now let's talk about Coach ______"