John Calipari : Heart of Gold?

Posted: June 9, 2011 by kysco in Louisville Basketball
Tags: , , , , ,

This article was written by Scott Glencroft, a contributor with

“Hey Reggie! Eric is gonna kick your ass after the game!”  This was one of many reminders that John Calipari had brought his sleaze to Lexington during his first rivalry game against long time nemesis Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville. A game that hands down was the dirtiest/ugliest in the rivalry history, and probably one of the most intense, second only to the “Dream Game”. From elbows and knees to trash talking pre and post game, John Calipari accomplished what he set out to do : 1) Appease his blood thirsty fan base, desperate for a return to past glory ;  2) Fire a shot across the bow at Rick Pitino to let him know he was coming for him and wouldn’t relent until Rick was run out of town. The bad blood between the two supposedly stems from multiple instances where Pitino (according to Calipari since Pitino would not address the issue) tried to out-grease the greasiest by suggesting stu jackson get the head coaching job at UMASS instead of Calipari. Pitino later would accuse Calipari of trying to lure recruits away from St. Johns by telling the kids who had committed that then head coach Lou Carnasecca  was dying of cancer and wouldn’t even be around for them. These are pretty disgusting accusations made by Calipari, a man whose smugness and charisma has rubbed many as disgusting in its own right. The fact that the man is still coaching after vacating two final fours with two different teams (Memphis and UMASS) is a testament to his rat-like ways where blame was deflected from him while he tip toed out the fire escape. Of course his supporters (UK fans, “Suck Calipari’s” Dick Vitale, amongst others) are quick to point out, “Well how is he supposed to know what his kids are doing? How was he supposed to know Derrick Rose (who had no chance of passing his entrance exams based on his previous 2 tests!) wasn’t just a better test taker in a different area code? (redneck voice) He was just a victim of circumstance, everyone hates you when you’re winning, us UK fans know that better than anyone! We are the greatest team, fan base, and all around basketball tradition ever! Swear to God man, hey check this out … (UK fan goes into the John Wall dance with the monocle 3 point sign at the same time) and of course … Got SEVEN?!? Sorry, got side tracked in UK fannisms …

The victim role is one played very well by coach Calipari throughout his career, from John Chaney threatening to eat his children to interviewing with Sports Illustrated claiming ignorance and confusion to all ill feelings toward him. By the way I’m pretty sure you were supposed to read that interview while listening to puppies whimper, how sorry did you feel for Calipari after that fluff job. When you have the connections and power that Calipari has accumulated throughout his career, you grow accustomed to fluff jobs from those eager to keep doors open with said connections. The truth is a lot people probably don’t like Calipari, but know he has the ability to black ball them with a lot of current icons if portrayed in a negative light. You might ask, “What is it about John Calipari that makes you and everyone else hate him so much?” I will tell you …

Of course, the way Cal stepped out of UMASS all while denying any responsibility for the vacation of their Final Four appearance (they lost to Pitino’s UK team) was the beginning of his greasy trail through college basketball history. Now I can understand a football coach maybe not being able to keep up with all 100 players on their roster throughout their college careers, but a basketball coach not knowing his STAR player was on the take??? Driving up to practice in a new car, or sporting a new flashy chain didn’t even raise a red flag of any sort? Looking back on it, I was willing to let it go as a one-time instance, maybe he was just green and didn’t know what he was supposed to look for, or maybe he just wanted to follow in his mentor Larry Brown’s footsteps by getting a final four vacated. Either way, Coach Cal was just a victim of circumstance and shouldn’t have been held accountable as the HEAD COACH of a program found to have broken the rules. What the f*%& ever, this was the moment I began to dislike Calipari for getting away scott-free while leaving his former program to deal with the repercussions.

After a stint in the NBA that saw Calipari struggle and ultimately get fired by the New Jersery Nets, only being recognized as the coach who called a reporter a, “f&%*ing mexican idiot” (Classy Cal), he brought his sanctions, I mean talents, to Memphis University. While at the helm, Calipari managed to somehow get some of the best talent in the country to come to the butthole of the mid-west. While this seemed suspicious, nobody could prove anything (another favorite defense by UK fans), and all things were on the up and up at Memphis. Then along came a player by the name of Shawne Williams, a local stud in high school and known academic/character risk in recruiting circles. He would attend a prep school for a year before joining the Tigers squad, where he would start to receive payments from a man named Carl La Mondue. Carl La Mondue was an agent who would later sue Williams for a reported $49,494 and change that the he claimed to have sent via western union in 75 various increments to ensure Williams as a client after college. The man had Western Union receipts and everything, but the incident was quickly swept under the rug and somehow taken care of since La Mondue rescinded his lawsuit and shut his mouth about the whole situation. Who had the power and resources to get to this agent and pay him off to keep quiet, Dozier, a college athlete? Well I know one man it couldn’t be, John Calipari, he was probably busy somewhere resuscitating a baby manatee or playing chutes and ladders with orphans. However Coach Cal did have the time to issue a statement,” With it being dismissed (the lawsuit), it says a whole lot.” Indeed it did, but what did it say? I guess it said the same thing when four Memphis players’ apartment was robbed while they were playing a game against (sweet irony) Christian Brothers University and the players claimed $60,000 in losses. This number would later be reduced to $30,000 when the value of the MINK COATS (supposedly being held for a female friend) was questioned. The original lists of items stolen were as follows:

$40,000 : Mink Coats

$6,000 : shoes

$5,000 : trousers/pants

$4,000 : custom made shirts

$3,150 : throwback jerseys

$2,500 : diamond earrings

$1,450 : TV’s/DVD’s/Video Games

$1,300 : Computer

“If you look at the report, there’s nothing there that looks outrageous to me,” Cal would tell a TV reporter in an interview. I would have to agree with Cal here, there is nothing outrageous about a college athlete having custom made shirts or mink coats, in fact I’m pretty sure Pistol Pete was known to sport gator skin shoes and carry a cane while playing for LSU back when. One thing I did find outrageous however was the $1,300 for computers, that number seems highly inflated considering the paltry 44% graduation rate of African Americans under Calipari’s watch. Now I have to include that a press conference was later held and Cal explained away everything shady about the burglary report, but when you consider the source, I chose not to include it. While at Memphis, another academic/character risk, Robert Dozier would be suspended from the team for ONE game after open hand slapping his girlfriend, and would later be included in the Derrick Rose entrance test scam. Now, as someone who has made mistakes in his youth, I understand and appreciate the effort to give a kid a second chance, but a one game suspension after hitting his girlfriend is ridiculous, especially since the it was out of desperation to win, and not because it was the planned punishment. Had two players not been ruled academically ineligible, Cal probably would have left Dozier suspended, but alas, being the forgiving and player friendly coach he is he decided to lift the suspension to ensure victory, not for HIS personal coaching record, but for the kids (puppy whimper). The list goes on and on at Memphis, from players soliciting prostitutes, to inciting riots outside of clubs, to hitting opponents’ fans (UAB), all of which Calipari knew about and allowed to take place without repercussions. Then Derrick Rose came along with his amazing athleticism and pro body, and took Cal for a ride to his second, errrr, first Final Four appearance and eventual National Championship runner-up. The aftermath of Rose’s lone college season would once again yield a Calipari fire escape exit, and the program left behind, a vacated season. Blaming the NCAA for all of it sounds like a good way to go, but to plead ignorance on your very best player’s actions twice now and expecting people to believe it is absurd! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Apparently the NCAA didn’t feel this way since they let Cal off once again, and to make it better for Cal, UK, one of the largest basketball traditions (a tradition steeped in cheating) had offered to make him the highest paid coach in college basketball history. While I couldn’t imagine a better match than UK and Calipari being a hater of both as a UL fan, you still have to marvel at how the man has been able to squirm out of trouble. Maybe that is where his smug “untouchable” attitude stems from, or maybe he is just an ego-centric jerkoff like most other highly paid coaches and professionals.

Since becoming the head coach at UK Cal wasted no time endearing himself to his new fan base by immediately bringing in the #1 recruiting class, and by beating UL both physically and on the score board. His first season at UK saw the Cayuts vault to the top spot and ended in an Elite Eight choke job against West Virginia. The conclusion of the season carried the usual Calipari scandal stories, but it also produced 5 first round draft picks from the team. Of the scandal stories the one that stuck out the most to me was the one of Eric Bledsoe’s transcripts being altered to gain eligibility for college. Apparently, Eric was quite the math student, opting to take Algebra III and passing it before taking and passing Algebra II. An investigation into this matter (you’re not going to believe this!) turned up nothing because those transcripts had been (gasp) lost. Once again, without proof, allegations are just that and can be pursued no further. The team as a whole throughout the season showed its immaturity; from Demarcus Cousins elbowing Swop(shire) in the face, to Cousins hitting a fan after the fan had stormed the court, to Eric Bledsoe blatantly shoving a Vandy player to the floor in front of everyone. All of these incidents, along with others, were followed with the same punishment Calipari applied at Memphis … nothing. Though it has only been 2 years of the Calipari Era in Lexington, he has not shied away from taking pot shots at Rick Pitino, and the Big East in general. Calipari has constantly ridiculed the league as overrated, yet both years his teams have been knocked out of the tournament by teams from …. You guessed it, the Big East. Maybe it’s penis envy? Whatever it is, the man obviously has an agenda that involves mainly self-promotion and tough talk that manifests itself in his teams past and present. Well, up until this most recent UK team, even as a hater of Cal and UK I had to recognize that they came together and played great in the tournament. They did so as a direct result of Calipari preaching a defense first mentality, and convincing Terrence Jones to sacrifice his stats for the greater good of the team. Next year’s team brings in a third #1 recruiting class and another scandal involving the father of #1 overall player Anthony Davis Jr. and allegedly a large sum of money being requested for his son’s services (ala Cam Newton). While nothing was proven (I f*&%ing know it hasn’t been proven UK fans!), and I’m sure nothing will be, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this resurface as the season progresses. Next season’s team has high expectations as the Big Blue Nation will consider anything short of a national championship banner a failure, and as a UL fan I would love to see that meltdown!

In closing I chose to present all my reasons for hating Calipari basically for any UK fan claiming it is jealousy, or that it has something to do with UK. It has never had anything to do with UK, I and most UL fans never needed any more of a reason to dislike UK other than the obnoxious fans we deal with in our daily lives. As I’m sure is the case with UK fans as well. To gloss over John Calipari’s past discretions as misunderstandings and haters, or to paint him as a victim makes you (UK fans) look like idiots, and you’re not … well some of you. Regardless of what Calipari achieves at UK, and it very well could be multiple national championships, his reputation will always be a jaded one and marred by his not one but TWO vacated Final Four trips. At least he topped Larry Brown in something …

  1. Kentucky Fan says:

    Hahaha suck our final four dicks you jealous piece of shit.

  2. Chad Brockie says:

    lol, typical UK fan response, really well thought out. Something a first grader could think up and write as a response to somebody who has an opinion not suitable for their liking. Way to tell him Junior!!! Next time break out your Crayola Crayons and mail in your response on big boy construction paper.

  3. David Blair says:

    When a UK fan pulls the old “he wasn’t named in any of that stuff” answer about the vacated final fours and probations, just remind them that neither were Hal Mumme and Eddie Sutton. 2 coaches they like to put blame on for their past transgressions.

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