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Clarion to unveil “Coach Cal Court” on Sept. 21

John Calipari was a point guard for Clarion in the 1980s.

Calipari Sea of Blue

Kentucky Wildcats basketball head coach John Calipari is getting a court named after him.

On Wednesday, Clarion University announced that the court located in Tippin Gymnasium will be renamed the John V. Calipari Court and will be known as “Coach Cal Court.” The ceremony will take place Tuesday, September 21st at the arena.

“We are so grateful for the leadership and philanthropy that John and Ellen have shown Clarion University over the years,” said Clarion University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson in a press release. “Their impact on Clarion and our students is immense, and we are proud to be able to recognize this legacy with such a visible tribute.”

The unveiling ceremony will be an invitation-only event at Tippin Gymnasium, but fans can watch the ceremony on the PSAC Sports Digital Network app.

Having spent over three decades coaching in college basketball and the NBA, Calipari was a 2015 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He guided UMass, Memphis and Kentucky to the Final Four a combined six times, led Kentucky to the 2012 national championship, and helped 54 players become NBA Draft picks.

Calipari has deep ties to Clarion dating back to when he was a star high school basketball player at Moon High School under Clarion graduate Joe Sacco. Calipari started his college playing career at UNC Wilmington before transferring to Clarion in 1981, helping the Golden Eagles reach their first NCAA Division II Tournament in program history that year.

Under legendary head coach Joe DeGregorio, Clarion went 23-6 and reached the East Region championship game. He was a key member of Clarion’s 1981-82 team that started the season 7-0 and ranked third in Division II at one point.

“When John Calipari was a student-athlete, he was a key part of some of the most accomplished men’s basketball teams in our program’s history,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Wendy Snodgrass in a press release. “As the years have gone by, he and Ellen have continued to make an incredible impact on the lives of our current Golden Eagles, affording them amazing opportunities to excel on the court and in the classroom. We are proud that his name and his legacy will hold a place of prominence in our home, as a constant reminder of their love and commitment for Clarion University.”