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John Calipari and Mitch Barnhart make NCAA Basketball top 100 influential people


KENTUCKY-CALIPARI Photo by Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Silver Waves Media labeled their top 100 people most influential people in college basketball.

Both men’s basketball head coach John Calipari and Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart made the list. Sadly, we don’t get to see where they were ranked as the order was done alphabetically.

It should also be noted they didn’t include retirees on their list.

That said, Jake Stanbrough and Sully Carter penned the article for the respected media company. Rather lengthy, here’s what they said on Calipari, one of the most prestigious coaches in all of basketball.

Not many can easily have the effect on multiple college programs like Calipari has been able to do in his career. Widely considered a marketing genius by many different college basketball experts, Calipari’s creative techniques and smooth talking ways have always made it easy for him to keep talent in his back pocket year after year. His incorporation of Kentucky Media Day, the way he has transformed Big Blue Madness, and his swaying presence in the media via different platforms has helped lure an amazing 49 NBA Draft picks to his teams during his 28-year head coaching career. He has set records for most players drafted in the first round, most players selected in a draft, longest streak with at least one top-10 pick, and most No. 1 overall picks. Another way to look at Calipari’s influence is that an astounding 38 of the 60 who finished their college careers at Kentucky under Calipari were selected in the NBA Draft, a staggering 63.3% success rate. The influx of talent available at his disposal each year has led to six Final Fours, one National Championship, and a 733-215 (.773) overall record. He is one of only two coaches (Rick Pitino) to lead three different schools to a Final Four (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). The Naismith HOF has seen Orlando Antigua, Tony Barbee, Derek Kellogg, Ed Schilling, John Robic, Bruiser Flint, Josh Pastner, and Chuck Martin as some of the coaches that continue to grow his coaching tree.

There are so many things that makes Cal great. His composure, yet, at the same time, his ability get fierce is a delicate line that he so oftentimes get right. Then, as the quote stated, his stats can tell the rest of the story.

Running a program of this caliber is far from a one-man show though. So much goes on behind the scenes that athletic director Mitch Barnhart deals with, one reason he was named to the list.

Here’s what was said of him.

No one can argue that the NCAA Selection committee doesn’t hold many programs’ fates and many coaches’ job statuses in the palm of their hand each and every year. Mitch Barnhart, the Athletic Director at Kentucky for the last 18 years, is the man at the forefront of that responsibility. He currently serves as the chair of the selection committee for the 2020-21 season where he will oversee the process of selecting a field of 64 teams with a number of different commissioners and athletic directors from different conferences and schools. The ten committee members spend countless hours evaluating teams throughout the regular season. While each committee member is given a couple handfuls of conferences they are supposed to be familiar with, the committee chair or in this case, Barnhart, is ultimately in charge of deciphering all the information in order to come to a 68 team field. The SportsBusiness Journal named Barnhart the Athletic Director of the Year in 2019 as he has been a huge part of the brand build of UK Athletics as a whole and the Kentucky Men’s Basketball program as many know it today. $300 million has been brought in to improve facilities since 2007 including the men’s basketball locker room and the programs have achieved much success.

Just for kicks and giggles, I looked up how many Duke’s employees were on the list. Just one. Are you shocked? Kentucky has and will continue to have one of the talented and influential programs in college basketball.