Better Job: Louisville or Kentucky?

Posted: April 12, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Posted by Rob Jones

They look like such good friends!

Good morning to all you loyal Sports Buzz fans out there. Let’s hope this rain holds off for all the people heading down to Jim Patterson Stadium for the Louisville/Kentucky baseball game this afternoon.

Today on the Sports Buzz, Chip and Gregg discussed a polarizing topic that I want to give my take on: What is the more appealing job for a college basketball coach, Louisville or Kentucky? It’s not as easy of a decision as most would think.

Kentucky is rich in tradition. You can even make the argument that it is the best college basketball program out there. The money, recruiting budget, fan base, and facilities are all matched by very few programs in the country. However, the pressure that comes with the job nearly outweighs all the positives. The UK job can eat someone without a certain kind of personality alive. Rick Pitino was great for Kentucky. John Calipari is great for Kentucky. Yet both of those guys are rarities in the world of college hoops. We all saw what the spotlight in Lexington did to coaches like Billy Gilispie and Eddie Sutton. Both guy were proven before they arrived in the Bluegrass, were chewed up, spit out, and were never the same after.

Louisville is also one of the greatest programs in college basketball history, but even Card fans will say it is a step behind Kentucky for whatever reason it may be. Like UK, the money, fanbase, budget and facilities are there…right now they are better than what Lexington has to offer. The KFC Yum! Center is state-of-the-art, Rick Pitino made more money than any coach in the land this season, the fans are loyal to a fault, and the recruits keep coming in. For a guy that wants a top-flight job, but not the scrutiny of what they would get in Lexington, Louisville would be their job.

Reason this is being brought up is the fact that Calipari and Pitino won’t be around in their respective jobs forever. Calipari has been rumored to the NBA both offseasons at UK and Pitino has hinted that retirement won’t be too far away. If they both opened up at the same time and both school’s went after the same candidate, the factors I previously stated will definitely go into the decision making.

For example, Billy Donovan of Florida turned down the Kentucky job before Calipari was hired. Most would deduce from that Donovan would then turn down the Louisville job. However, for a coach that already has national championships and noteriety, Louisville might be the perfect spot. Plus, Donovan has a connection with both Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich. In turn, if both jobs opened up and a guy like Sean Miller at Arizona showeed interest, he might be more inclined to take the Kentucky job to prove he belongs on the big stage. Also, nationally Arizona-to-Louisville would seem like a lateral move. Arizona-to-Kentucky would not.

It really depends on the guy taking the job. Kentucky needs a strong personality that can stroke the egos of the rabid fanbase . Louisville needs a good recruiter that can do enough to keep the fans and administration happy. Louisville job gives you more security and the Kentucky job gives you the opportunuty at glory.

To prevent both fanbases from killing eachother, let’s hope both jobs don’t open up at the same time. If they do, this argument may be ended forever.


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