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Calipari will set a new standard

March 31, 2009

Memphis faithful whether you like it or not, John Calipari is heading for Kentucky.  Andy Katz reported that Calipari has been offered an 8 year $35 million contract yesterday.  Although he is sleeping on it, why would Calipari decide to stay in Memphis? Kentucky is one of the mecca’s of college basketball.  Adolph Rupp put the Wildcats in the ranks of prominence as he racked up 876 wins as head coach of Kentucky.  Four national championships and forty two years later, “Baron of the Bluegrass” set a new standard for college basketball.  Imagine what kind of dollar signs Rupp would be seeing today?  After Rupp left, Kentucky lost most of its juice until Rick Pitino came in and led the Wildcats to a national championship in 1996.  A year later, Pitino’s Wildcats advanced to the national championship game for the second year in a row.  Arizona took down Pitino and his boys, but Kentucky’s reputation as a basketball powerhouse had not faltered.  Tubby Smith came in and led Kentucky to a national championship in 1998, and it looked as though the Wildcats were on the verge of being known as the top college basketball school in the country.  The joy ride ended after that year, and Kentucky has had a rough time over the past decade getting back its winning ways.  Two years ago when Kentucky signed Billy Gillespie, Kentucky nation was full of energy.  Fast forward two years, and John Calipari might be the only answer to save a Kentucky program that desperately needs a deep run in an NCAA tournament.

John Calipari has proven at Umass, and at Memphis that he knows how to win on a consistent basis.  A great recruiter, and a man that has endless amounts of energy is the combination that Kentucky basketball is desperately seeking.  Once he signs that huge contract, he will be setting a new standard for college basketball coaching salaries.  Rick Pitino must be licking his chops right now as he waits for Arizona to call.  Don’t be surprised if Pitino signs a similar deal with the Wildcats.  Recruiting is everything with the array of talent in the nation these days.  Calipari and Pitino are two of the legends in the game today, and the lucrative contracts that could be on the brink will add more to their resumes.  Coaches are so coveted in college basketball because of the buzz that March Madness creates.  Leading a team deep into March Madness helps with recruiting, and getting a high profile coach at Kentucky such as Calipari will put Kentucky back on the map with UNC, Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana, and Arizona.


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