John Calipari has taken a place on Kentucky’s radar in its search to replace Billy Gillispie, multiple sources told ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil and Pat Forde. On Friday, a source told O’Neil that Calipari ‘likely would not be interested’ in the job but on Sunday, multiple sources said Calipari is indeed interested. A source also said Kentucky was gathering information on Calipari over the weekend.
According to Memphis sports information director Lamar Chance, Kentucky officials have not contacted Memphis for permission to speak to Calipari. Other names tossed out in the ESPN report are former Wildcat players including current Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford and current Arkansas coach John Pelphry. Non-Kentucky guys Sean Miller (Xavier) and Thad Matta (Ohio State) are also mentioned. Tom Izzo is discussed, but more in terms of why he is not a candidate than why he would be.
But let’s circle back and discuss John Calipari. My knee jerk reaction to John Calipari-to-Kentucky rumors is that he would not be a good choice for Kentucky, but a great choice. Say what you will about Calipari’s recruiting tactics or his academic standards or his less than sterling reputation with some of his peers, but the guy knows how to build a winning college basketball program (at least on the floor).