John Calipari presented the Big Blue Nation and the rest of the basketball world with the final part of this triple threat manifesto. He envisions the program in the future and highlighted more Wildcats in the NBA and catching UCLA's banner record.
But the biggest nugget from his post was this:
My plan is to coach here for the rest of my career. I want this to be my final coaching position.
It was a summer ritual around these parts. A coach in the NBA would get fired and the top name on every rumor mill list was John Calipari. At some point in time in the last few years, his name was linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers (remember Rex Chapman?), the Sacramento Kings, the New Orleans Pelicans, and a host of others.
Louisville Cardinal radio hosts and bloggers would openly wish for the Cal to the NBA rumors to be true. Of course, they would want him to leave. Calipari and Kentucky dominate the headlines in the Commonwealth in a positive way in contrast to the way Rick Pitino and the Cardinals dominate the headlines. The Wildcats have owned the rivalry ever since Cal arrived in Lexington, on the court in the world of recruiting.
So what finally caused Calipari to make such an open statement about staying at Kentucky until he retires? For a time, the NBA interest did not seem to be one-sided. After the 2012 title, it seemed like a matter of time before he again decided to test his skills on the professional level.
But things changed over time. The Wildcats continued to be near the top of the college basketball rankings at the beginning and the end of each season. Calipari continued to recruit at a high level. And his son Brad Calipari decided to come to Kentucky as a walk-on and play for his father. This more than anything may have solidified Cal at UK until he retires.
John Calipari, now more than ever, seems concerned about the atmosphere at Rupp Arena and is looking at adding championships. This tells me that Cal is thinking about his lasting legacy not only in basketball but specifically at Kentucky. He wants to change the lives of players and help them reach their dreams, this has always been his battle cry, but this really has been the first time that he has talked about leaving a lasting mark at Kentucky in a way other than impacting the pros.
It is going to be a relief not to have to worry every time a job opened at the next level. We won't have to worry about the state of a program for about ten more years. John Calipari is looking at making some changes at Kentucky, on the court and off of it. His long-term goals now start and end with the University of Kentucky.