clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

John Calipari opens up about what drives him and how much longer he’ll coach

Calipari admits he’ll likely keep coaching far longer than he anticipated.

John Calipari Sea of Blue

It’s no secret that Kentucky Basketball is a job that causes coaches to age faster than most gigs.

Well, at least that’s what John Calipari believes. Throughout Calipari’s tenure in Lexington, he’s stated on multiple occasions that the demands of this job are taxing to the point he may retire sooner than most coaches would.

Part of that is due to Calipari not wanting to coach so long that his last few years see the program take a step back. In all sports, we’ll great coaches go a little too long and struggle to produce during their last few seasons before retirement, or even getting let go by the school.

Calipari won’t let that happen.

“In anything you do, you try to do it too long, it never ends well,” Calipari said in a 2017 interview. “That won’t be me, I promise you.”

Saying this, Calipari should still have plenty of great years left in him, and he’s now indicating as much.

In a preseason interview with CatsPause, Calipari opened up about his Kentucky career and how much longer he could possibly coach as he enters his 10th season.

Calipari admitted he didn’t originally plan on coaching well into his 60s, but he’s now more open to doing so.

“I didn’t think I would be coaching in my 60s, mainly because of the pace I was going. But then again, it took me 20 years to get a job like this, so I’m not as anxious to leave and will probably stay much longer than I ever thought I would stay in coaching.”

One of the biggest reasons Calipari can now see himself going longer than expected is the impact he’s had on players and their families.

“The biggest thing for me is the impact we can have for kids and their families. That will keep me going.”

This isn’t the first time this year that Calipari has mentioned he could coach longer than he planned.

During a radio interview with KSR over the summer, Calipari joked about possibly coaching into his 70s if he has the energy to reach that feat.

“If I don’t have the energy to do it, I shouldn’t be coaching here, but I’m good,” said Calipari. “75 or 76, there will be a lot of games between then and now. I’m gonna have to go back for another contract if I’m going to coach that long.”

Calipari also talked about coaching into his 70s during a 2015 interview. He also has consistently said his plan is to coach at UK for the rest of his career, despite frequent interest from NBA teams.

Most college coaches go well into their late 60s before retiring.

Some make it well into their 70s, though that’s usually Hall of Fame-caliber coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, Bobby Knight, Jim Boeheim, and Jim Calhoun.

Calipari has certainly established himself in that class of coaches, but will he actually coach for into his late 60 or even 70s?

It certainly sounds like that’s now a very real possibility.