ESPN’s Myron Medcalf recently ranked college basketball’s most underappreciated coaches, and John Calipari earned his very own category.
The section was titled “Coaches who are underappreciated because they’ve won so often their success is taken for granted”, otherwise known as “The John Calipari Category.”
The coaches that were listed alongside Calipari were Kansas’ Bill Self, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, Kansas State’s Bruce Weber, Tennessee’s Rick Barnes, Villanova’s Jay Wright, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Purdue’s Matt Painter, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins and Gonzaga’s Mark Few.
Whether they’re underappreciated or not, this is an incredible list of some of the best coaches that college hoops has to offer.
As for Calipari, Medcalf discusses how difficult it is to win with freshmen when the outside world expects it to be so much easier. He cites the impressive feat that only one of Calipari’s teams at Kentucky has won less than 26 games, which is truly impressive when you consider the youth of each team.
Finally, he considers the pressure Calipari faces at Kentucky, from both the media and the fanbase, and how he meets or finishes above their high expectations more often than not.
It’s hard to consider some of these coaches underappreciated. This is a list of coaches who have won awards and been recognized, both within their conference and nationally, as well as a group that has won in the regular season and in the biggest games of the postseason.
Some success gets taken for granted, though, and in that sense, a lot of these men are as unrecognized as they come.
John Calipari has accomplished as much during his tenure at Kentucky as any coach in the country during that same time, but everyone, fans of Kentucky or not, need to truly understand the value this man brings to the bench.