Tuesday’s thrilling overtime win over Mississippi State marked John Calipari’s 800th victory as a head coach when you combine his victories at UMass, Memphis, and Kentucky.
Since most of the articles I’m seeing aren’t docking him for some of Memphis’s vacated wins, I think we can consider him at 801 following Saturday’s win over the Kansas Jayhawks.
The big question, of course, is whether he’ll hit four digits and get the prestigious 1,000. Only Coach K has officially done it, and Jim Boeheim has unofficially, though he’ll finish making up the vacated ones pretty soon anyway.
So, how many more years with BBN would Calipari need?
Well, suppose UK wins 30 a year for seven years. That’s 210 wins. Suppose it’s more like 27-31 wins. That’d mean he can make it with seven more seasons, with some cushion from about 15-20 more wins this season hopefully added in there too. He’ll be 70 in 2029, so he can totally do it, even if the record-keeping people knock him for the two vacated Memphis seasons (no fault of Cal’s) and he has to win about 50 more.
70 isn’t too old in college — I think he’ll make it and further cement his legacy as one of the greatest coaches. It kind of hurt last year that he was only able to add nine wins, which is kind of funny when you think about it, but on the other hand what’s really cool is that only three teams have ever won 38 games in a college hoops season—all were Calipari teams.
So he’s moving pretty fast, especially at UK, where 30-win seasons are almost an expectation, not a novelty. At UMass I’m pretty sure they’d like to win 30+ games again right now. Those smaller schools sure have trouble keeping great coaches for long.
800 wins, over a third of them quite special for us big blue fans. I’m glad we’ve given this guy a lifetime contract—if any coach deserves it, it’s Cal.