We know what happened, of course, in his prior coaching jobs. Critics ripped out the soul of a master at coaching kids at the college level. It’s a shame there was no bigger fraudulent coach maintaining a collegiate profession, dealing with adversity, and tattering images.

Critics perceived him as a fool, but he wasn’t much of a fool, even if he became the first coach in college basketball history to vacate two Final Four berths. People were too judgmental of Calipari, whose reputation abruptly disintegrated after he was blamed for improprieties of violating NCAA rules.

Blinded by his inability to run a spotless program in 1996 at Massachusetts, people were no longer able to see his abilities as a coach. They were instead furious and bashed a mentor and near-perfectionist because of his infamous scandals.

For all the haze that stained a legit program, he was labeled as the scapegoat, unaware of Marcus Camby receiving money from an agent. Shortly after, he fled the scene to accept an NBA coaching job with the New Jersey Nets, and was perceived as a criminal while investigations were still pending. And then, he was held liable again at Memphis, leaving behind a toxic spill that killed prestige among an elite program in college hoops.

Being under so much tension, it’s hard to imagine Calipari handling a situation so calmly. From a clear standpoint, there weren’t any infractions tagging his name, but in reality, there were infractions against him. In fairness, no one can accuse him or refer to him as a con artist. Yet there’s a notion rushing through our brains that he was a man of deceit, especially if he had known more specifics about Derrick Rose, the star point guard, who was formally ruled ineligible because someone else took his college entrance exam after he had failed three times.

How can any college coach be blamed for someone else’s blunders? Maybe because he wasn’t aware, allowing insidious nonsense to slide instead of plotting stricter guidelines and building a stronger bond with his student athletes. For all we know, Calipari may have told nothing but the truth, and really had no idea the athletes were lavished with gifts and cash to violate NCAA rules.

To be honest, you don’t have to like Calipari, you don’t have to believe him, but you must admit to yourself how great of a coaching resume he has established, based upon the ability to discipline and cultivate student athletes.

His tactics generated a unique coaching style in each of his coaching stints, and now have installed similar textures at Kentucky University, a demanding program that needed an ambassador to remove the fundamental flaws. Ever since his arrival, good results reshaped aspiration and converted the most dysfunctional program in college hoops back into the elite program.

Before his arrival, Kentucky was stuck in a calamity, a joke in college sports, stained with unpleasant chaos. Every Kentuckian should be shouting nowadays, admiring the voice of Calipari. Most coaches normally need two or three years to uplift the soul and intensity at a program, but not Calipari, only needing to make an imposing debut in his first regular season as Kentucky head coach.

In a program with deficits winning games or even surviving the NCAA Tournament, losing would be taken in as an enormous disappointment, unlike a year ago when a loss was expected to elevate misery. To state it simpler, Calipari is a savior in Kentucky. In fact, he’s the greatest coach guiding the Wildcats since Tubby Smith bailed out to accept a coaching job at Minnesota. While the Wildcats have proven themselves legit by annihilating every opponent, the hideous violations are stored in the back of our minds.

All the population cares about in Lexington are winning games, and advancing to the Final Four. No one is concerned about obsolete troubles, an issue that doesn’t even relate to what has transpired in Kentucky.

Each of his players have more respect for him, which means critics should have more respect as well. For now, one man revitalizing and changing the culture in a single season at a school with much mystique tells us more about Calipari’s commitment and brilliance. If there’s one coach worth respecting, it’s Calipari. Almost all of his accomplishments are legit, even though he was unfairly stripped in the wins column and called a cheater.


Whether he has a good or bad image in the game, he’s not a cheater. Better, he’s a great teacher of the game, applying kids with knowledge and self-confidence. Deemed a no good con artist with a big ego, we tend to forget he has the Wildcats on a title run. But clearly, he’s being viewed differently after recently casting a gloom over his previous school, Memphis.

In the midst of winning its first title since 1998, Calipari is the man in charge, the man getting burned for lingering infractions. If he takes the Wildcats to the Final Four, expect Ashley Judd to blow kisses at him, expect warm applause from trustees and expect him to get a raise in pay.

For all the anguish in the past, the last thing the Bluegrass State anticipates is a loss. Where basketball lords are a cultural semblance, Calipari is accepted as one of the elite coaches, liked for his ability to bring back a fallen program. In the future a sports dynasty makes sense, a perception that gives us every reason to believe Calipari is the accessible voice.

So instead, it seems fairer ridiculing his predecessor, Billy Gillispie, whose failures were embarrassing and diminished mystique. Not too many coaches can change inferior activity at three different schools, as did Calipari. So if there’s anybody despising him for his mistakes, it’s just crazy.

There has been dialogue about the ramifications of him committing similar slip ups in Lexington, but now there’s much more chatter about the Wildcats possibly winning the national title.

He brought immediate principles and charismatic structure, and retooled with some of the most talented players in the nation in DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, two big-name stars with NBA abilities. At least Kentucky’s athletic program believes in Calipari, signing him to $35 million deal over eight years to become the highest-paid coach in collegiate sports.

After advancing to the Sweet 16, the Wildcats have a date with Cornell on Thursday. That’s an upset alert, no doubt. But no need to worry, the Cats will pull it off in a romping fashion, and are favored to destroy any team crossing their path.

In Lexington, expect the people to embrace Calipari and declare him as a hero. The Cats are legitimate, with a fantastic coach.

That is, Calipari.

By Jonathan Mathis


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