Now Boarding: Calipari’s Flight To Kentucky

March 31, 2009 at 3:13 am Leave a comment


First of all, I absolutely support the move from Memphis to Kentucky by John Calipari. I think Coach Cal fits the bill as a prototypical Kentucky head coach. However, like everything else, there are pros and cons about making the large switch.

It’s always best to start with the bad news…

  • C-USA to SECIt doesn’t take a basketball wizard to realize that the SEC is a slight bit tougher conference than the C-USA. In other words, Coach Cal would face a tougher opponent than Tulsa in the conference championship game. With that being said, Calipari will face tougher competition in the SEC and that will obviously mean a tougher test for him. Better opponents is a tad bit scary.
  • #1 Coaching Job – The head coaching job at Kentucky for basketball is very similar to the head coaching job at Notre Dame for football, it’s frickin’ HUGE. Is this a bad thing? Well, not really. Having the number one job just comes with a lot of pressure and extremely high expectations, things that are expected and accepted. However, tons of pressure is not easily handled with a flick of the finger.
  • No Guarantees – Coach Cal is practically guaranteed 25+ wins every season for as long as he coaches at Memphis. He is such a great recruiter that he gets top-notch talent at a C-USA school and he wins TONS of games. Plus, he develops those freakish athletes into NBA players to boot. But, unfortunately, Calipari is not guaranteed a whole lot in the SEC. One 19-12 season could really hurt him. The way that I see this differently is that Calipari’s recruiting will never allow him to finish a season without 20 wins. But very simply put, promised 25+ win seasons in Memphis with no promises at Kentucky.

And now for the good news, all of which will be the reason why Coach Cal is telling his Memphis players that he is boarding the next flight to Kentucky…

  • #1 Coaching Job – That’s right, this serves as a pro and a con. Although the number one coaching job comes with a lot of pressure, it also comes with a lot of respect. Calipari will never receive the respect he deserves as long as he continues coaching in the C-USA (we’ve all seen this). Plus, it’s a pride thing. Calipari is human, believe it or not, and he has his own aspirations and dreams.
  • HUGE Paycheck – Reports have already said that Kentucky has a “megadeal” on the table for Caoch Cal, most likely meaning that he would be the highest-paid coach in the country. He currently makes somewhere around $2.3 million per year and Florida’s Billy Donovan makes $3.5 per. Therefore, we’re at least looking at a $1 million pay raise. Not too shabby if you ask me.
  • Recruiting Ability – If Calipari can bring Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, and DeMarcus Cousins to Memphis, what makes you think he can’t bring those gentlemen plus more to the University of Kentucky? In just his first season at Kentucky, Calipari has an opportunity to bring his top-three recruits over to Lexington with a strong possibility of having Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson returning…WOW! Trust me, kids will WANT to come play ball for Coach Cal at Kentucky.

The “megadeal” is in the works as we speak. Coach Cal should be introduced by the end of the week. Good luck!


Entry filed under: College Basketball. Tags: , , , , , , .

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