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John Calipari ranked as a top-5 hire in the last 25 years

Most of the names ahead of Cal have been at their respective schools longer.

Kentucky Basketball News Conference Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Without any sports taking place on the court, the field, the pitch, the diamond, or even the pool, sports fans everywhere are clamoring for something sports-related to keep their interest. That has led to some great creative projects that have resulted in fun conversation.

A new article by John Gasaway of ESPN is aimed at starting a conversation about the best coaching hires in college basketball, specifically in the last 25 years. John Calipari comes in at No. 5 on the list, and this is what Gasaway had to say about the leader of the Kentucky Wildcats:

“Prior to Kentucky in 2015, the last undefeated team to make It to the Final Four was UNLV in 1991. The Wildcats didn’t win the title that year, of course, but they did in 2012. They’ve reached three* Final Fours under Calipari (and, perhaps even more incredibly, six* Elite Eights), and UK’s recruiting classes ranked either No. 1 or 2 at every year from 2009 to 2018.”

*Gasaway did make an error in saying Kentucky has reached three Final Fours and six Elite Eights under Calipari. It’s actually four Final Fours and seven Elite Eights.

The top 10 on the list looks like this:

  1. Roy Williams, North Carolina Tar Heels
  2. Jay Wright, Villanova Wildcats
  3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State Spartans
  4. Bill Self, Kansas Jayhawks
  5. John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats
  6. Tony Bennett, Virginia Cavaliers
  7. Mark Few, Gonzaga Bulldogs
  8. Leonard Hamilton, Florida State Seminoles
  9. Chris Beard, Texas Tech Red Raiders
  10. Bob Huggins, West Virginia Mountaineers

The other SEC coaches to make the list are Bruce Pearl (No. 19) and Frank Martin (No. 23). Everything I have listed so far passes the eye test, but the list really creates some questions toward the bottom.

I will not say any names, but I will give you a “penny” to guess what coach is listed that had a No. 1 recruiting class but has seen little to no success on the court. There may also be a guy on the list that is the only coach to have an NCAA men’s basketball national championship vacated during this time period.

Check out the entire list here, and let us know what you think in the comments!