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John Calipari

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John Calipari
Calipari in November 2014
Current position
TitleHead coach
Biographical details
Born (1959-02-10) February 10, 1959 (age 65)
Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Playing career
1978–1980UNC Wilmington
Position(s)Point guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1982–1985Kansas (associate assistant)
1985–1988Pittsburgh (assistant)
1996–1999New Jersey Nets
1999–2000Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall855–263 (.765) (college)
72–112 (.391) (NBA)
Tournaments57–22* (NCAA tournament)
15–6 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors

* Vacated by the NCAA

Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2015 (profile)

John Vincent Calipari (/ˌkælɪˈpæri/; born February 10, 1959) is an American basketball coach who is the head coach at the University of Arkansas. He was the head coach at the University of Kentucky from 2009 until the end of the 2023–2024 season, which he led to one NCAA National Championship in 2012. He has been named Naismith College Coach of the Year three times (1996, 2008, and 2015), and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

He was previously the head coach at the University of Massachusetts from 1988 to 1996, the NBA's New Jersey Nets from 1996 to 1999, the University of Memphis from 2000 to 2009, and the University of Kentucky from 2009 to 2024. He was the head coach of the Dominican Republic national team in the summers of 2011 and 2012, as well as the United States men's national under-19 basketball team in July 2017.

Calipari coached Kentucky to four Final Fours, in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. He also led UMass and Memphis to the Final Four in 1996 and 2008 respectively; those appearances were later vacated, though Calipari was cleared of wrongdoing in both cases.[1] As a college coach, Calipari has twenty-nine 20-win seasons, eleven 30-win seasons, and five 35-win seasons.

As of April 2024, with 855 official wins, Calipari ranks 9th on the NCAA Division I all-time winningest coaches list.

Playing career[edit]

John Calipari, 1979–1980 UNCW basketball team

Calipari lettered two years at UNC Wilmington before transferring to Clarion University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing. He played point guard at Clarion during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, leading the team in assists and free throw percentage.

Coaching career[edit]

From 1982 to 1985, Calipari was an assistant at the University of Kansas under Ted Owens and Larry Brown.[2][3] Calipari had several jobs as the lowest coach in the pecking order when Ted Owens hired him as a volunteer assistant for the Jayhawks' 1982–83 season, including serving food at the training table.[2] "I was blessed to have the chance. Can you imagine being 22, 23 and your first opportunity to be around the game is at a program like Kansas?"[2]

From 1985 to 1988, he was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh under Roy Chipman and Paul Evans. From 1988 to 1996, he was head coach at the University of Massachusetts. From 1996 to 1999, he was head coach and Executive VP of basketball operations for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. During the 1999–2000 season, he was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers under coach Larry Brown, before moving on to his next position at the University of Memphis.

Calipari is famous for popularizing the dribble drive motion offense, developed by Vance Walberg, which is sometimes known as the "Memphis Attack".

In his 31 official seasons (32 seasons overall) as a collegiate head coach, Calipari's record is 855–263 (.765). His NCAA-adjusted (the records of two appearances being removed) official record in the NCAA tournament is 57–22 (.721), and in the NIT is 15–6 (.714). His teams have made 23 NCAA tournament appearances (21 officially, due to two later being vacated), including reaching the Sweet Sixteen 15 times (13 officially, due to two later being vacated), the Elite Eight 12 times (10 officially, due to two later being vacated), the Final Four six times (four officially, due to two later being vacated), the NCAA Championship Game three times (twice officially, with the 2008 Championship Game appearance while at Memphis being vacated by the NCAA), winning the NCAA Championship at Kentucky in 2012, and finishing NCAA Runner-Up in 2014.[4]

As a college coach, Calipari has twenty-nine 20-win seasons (28 officially) and eleven 30-win seasons (10 officially). He has also coached six teams to the NIT, winning the NIT Championship at Memphis in 2002. He is one of only four coaches in NCAA Division I history to direct three different schools to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.[5]

The platoon system established under John Calipari not only provided life for the University of Kentucky's basketball team in 2014, but it also provided an important defensive weapon. The platoon system was introduced in 2014, and consisted of playing 10 men in legions of five. Each platoon includes three ball-handlers and two taller players.[6]

Since 2009, the Wildcats have been on the top of the high school basketball recruiting mountain.[according to whom?] Recruiting has always been paramount for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. According to The Washington Post, Calipari's teams have been a defensive powerhouse, historically ranking in the top 50 in Ken Pomeroy's defensive debate. Because of his successful recruiting John Calipari is able to bring in elite talent, and does not have to use a mundane 2–3 zone, or man to man defensive tactics to gain a defensive edge. Due to the use of four seven foot front court players,[7] Kentucky has had the ability to display their defensive shot blocking presence.

One notable statistic is that, from 2002 to 2018, all 25 players coached by Calipari who chose to enter the NBA draft after their first season were drafted in the first round. This streak started with Dajuan Wagner at the University of Memphis, and ended when Kentucky Wildcat Jarred Vanderbilt was not drafted until the second round.[8]

University of Massachusetts[edit]

From 1988 to 1996 at UMass, Calipari led the Minutemen program to five consecutive Atlantic 10 titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, including periods where the program was ranked first nationally. He finished with a 193–71 record overall, with a 91–41 record in Atlantic 10 conference games. Calipari was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993, and 1996. He was also named the Naismith, NABC, Basketball Times & Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 1996. He led UMass to its first-ever appearance in the Final Four with the play of the John R. Wooden Award winner and Naismith College Player of the Year Marcus Camby, although this appearance was later vacated by the NCAA because Camby had accepted about $28,000 worth of gifts, in particular a gold chain, from two sports agents who were luring him to enter the NBA draft after his Sophomore season.[9]

Calipari helped accelerate the construction of the Mullins Center, UMass' basketball and hockey facility. He also reached out to eastern Massachusetts and Boston to enlarge the fan base. Before moving on to the New Jersey Nets, Calipari became the second winningest coach in UMass history behind Jack Leaman.[10]

In 2010, then-ESPN.com writer Pat Forde, in his "Forde Minutes" column, said of the 1992 team:

Calipari's greatest strength as a coach is his ability to create teams that play together. His 1992 Massachusetts team remains one of the most overachieving units The Minutes has ever seen, featuring a shooting guard with range so limited he made one 3-pointer all season (Jim McCoy), a 6-foot-3 power forward (Will Herndon), and a left-handed center who stood all of 6–7 (Harper Williams). Somehow, that collection of marginal talent went 30–5 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.[11]

In the Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky in 1992, official Lenny Wirtz issued Calipari a controversial technical foul for being outside the coach's box during a crucial UMass possession. Kentucky went on to face Duke in the next round in one of the greatest games in college basketball history, won on a last-second shot by Christian Laettner.

In 1993, UMass defeated defending NCAA champion and preseason #1 North Carolina in the pre-season NIT in Madison Square Garden. The following year #3 UMass defeated defending NCAA champion and #1 Arkansas in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off classic, which resulted in UMass becoming the first New England college basketball team to be voted #1 in the Associated Press poll.

During Calipari's tenure at UMass, the program became one of the most dominant in college basketball despite recruiting just one McDonald's All-American (Donta Bright) and having only two players drafted by an NBA team (Lou Roe and Marcus Camby). Forde recalled the Final Four team in Calipari's final UMass season in 1995–96 as a squad "with one superstar (Marcus Camby) and a collection of complementary parts".[11] By winning both the Atlantic 10 regular season and conference tournament championships from 1992 to 1996, UMass became the second team in college basketball history to win 5 consecutive regular season and conference tournament championships (NC State was the first).

New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers[edit]

In the 1996–97 season, John Calipari replaced Butch Beard as head coach of the New Jersey Nets. After a 26–56 debut season, the Nets made a major draft-day trade in June 1997, acquiring Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris and two other players in exchange for Tim Thomas.

In 1997, while coaching the New Jersey Nets, Calipari directed profanities at Star-Ledger sports reporter Dan Garcia and referred to him as a "Mexican idiot".[12] Garcia sued for $5,000,000 for emotional distress. Though the case was dismissed[13] and Calipari apologized for his remarks,[12] he was still fined $25,000 by the NBA.[14]

The 1997–98 season was a lone bright spot for the Nets in the late 1990s. The team played well under Calipari, winning 43 games and qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Nets were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 playoffs in three straight games.

The 1998–99 season was delayed for three months due to an owners' lockout of the players. When the abbreviated 50-game season began, the Nets were a choice by experts as a surprise team. However, Sam Cassell was injured in the first game and the team started poorly. With the Nets underachieving at 3–15, the Nets traded Cassell to the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Nets acquired Stephon Marbury from the Minnesota Timberwolves. After two more losses, Calipari was fired as head coach with the team at 3–17. He finished his tenure with an overall record of 72 wins and 112 losses and a .391 overall winning percentage. He then joined Larry Brown as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.[15]

University of Memphis[edit]

Calipari directing his players during an away game against Conference USA rival University of Houston in January 2007.

Calipari became head coach at the University of Memphis in 2000. In Calipari's first nine years as head coach at Memphis, he won 214 games (38 wins were vacated) and posted seven consecutive 20-win seasons, plus one more in his final season (including an NCAA record four consecutive 30-win seasons, though the third season was vacated and this record no longer holds). He also earned seven consecutive postseason bids (plus one in his final season). His 2007–2008 team's 38 victories set a new NCAA Division I Men's Basketball record for most victories in a season, a record that now belongs to the 2011–2012 Kentucky Wildcats due to NCAA violations that vacated all of Memphis' wins. The nine consecutive 20-win seasons and the nine consecutive postseason appearances would have been the most in school history, though that officially stands now at seven because of the vacated 2007–08 season. He was named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2006, 2008, and 2009. In 2008, he was named Naismith College Coach of the Year, receiving the honor for the second time.[16] In 2009, he was named Sports Illustrated College Basketball Coach of the Year.[17]

He built a national program by recruiting blue chip players from the Eastern part of the country, such as Dajuan Wagner from Camden (NJ), Darius Washington Jr. from Orlando (FL), Rodney Carney from Indianapolis (IN), Shawne Williams from Memphis (TN), Joey Dorsey from Baltimore (MD), Chris Douglas-Roberts from Detroit (MI), Antonio Anderson from Lynn (MA), Robert Dozier from Lithonia (GA), Derrick Rose from Chicago (IL), and Tyreke Evans from Aston (PA).

While at Memphis, Calipari popularized the dribble drive motion offense that was invented by former Pepperdine basketball coach Vance Walberg.[18][19]

On January 21, 2008, Calipari led the Tigers to the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll for only the second time in school history.

In 2006 and 2008, Memphis earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In 2008, Calipari's Tigers advanced to the national championship game, their first under his leadership. They also won 38 games, the most regular-season wins in NCAA history (his 2011–12 Kentucky team would also go on to win 38 games). His team, however, would lose to the Kansas Jayhawks, 75–68, in overtime. This team later had its entire season record vacated by the NCAA because the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the SAT college admissions test, invalidated Derrick Rose's score on that test. Despite this, Rose still denies any wrongdoing. The NCAA began to investigate the test and contacted the ETS. Because the NCAA had begun to investigate, ETS decided to review the test. The ETS sent three letters to Rose's family's former address in Chicago (instead of his dorm in Memphis) to ask that Rose verify some information on his test. Because he did not reply to the letters, ETS invalidated his SAT. This happened even though the NCAA investigated and reported that they could not find significant evidence to prove that Rose did not take the test. Because the ETS had invalidated the test, the NCAA retroactively declared Rose ineligible. To this day, the official position of the NCAA is that Rose did take his own SAT. If not for the vacated wins, Calipari would be the winningest coach in Tigers history, as he would have 252 wins to Larry Finch's 220.[20]

On May 28, 2010, John Calipari, Derrick Rose, and University of Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson reached a $100,000 out-of-court settlement with three attorneys who represented Memphis season ticket holders and threatened a lawsuit over the vacated 2007–08 season. Also as part of the settlement, Calipari donated his near-$232,000 bonus to the Memphis scholarship fund.[21]

University of Kentucky[edit]

Calipari on the bench for the Kentucky Wildcats, 2009

On March 30, 2009, four days after Memphis' season ending loss to Missouri in the NCAA tournament, multiple sources reported that Calipari would agree to be the head coach at the University of Kentucky, after UK's head coach, Billy Gillispie, was fired after two unsuccessful seasons at the school.[22] Calipari rejected a counter offer by Memphis for Kentucky's 8 year, $31.65 million contract.[23]

According to university officials, John Calipari signed a written contract on March 31, 2009. The contract was worth $34.65 million over 8 years, plus incentives.[23] On April 1, 2009, the University of Kentucky Director of Athletics, Mitch Barnhart, formally introduced John Calipari as the new coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. During the press conference, Calipari spoke at length about his relationships with former UK basketball players and coaches, and also in his difficulties in accepting the UK job, largely due to his deep emotional ties with both the city of Memphis and University of Memphis. Calipari stated, "Coming to UK was the easy part, it was leaving the city of Memphis that was the hard part." He went on to refer to the University of Kentucky coaching position as his "dream job".[24] Calipari became the 22nd coach overall at Kentucky, and just the 7th coach in the last 79 years for the Wildcats.[25]


In his first year as head coach, Calipari had a highly touted recruiting class, including the No. 1 overall rated recruit, John Wall, plus fellow 5-star recruits, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton. On December 21, 2009, Calipari led the Cats to their 12th victory of the season and the program's 2,000th victory ever. Kentucky won its 44th SEC Regular Season Championship in 2009–10, with a 14–2 conference record. Calipari's team followed this up with the UK's 26th SEC Tournament Championship, with an overtime defeat of Mississippi State, 75–74, in the SEC Tournament title game. In the NCAA Tournament, however, No. 1 seed Kentucky (East Region) was upset by West Virginia in the Elite 8, to finish the season at 35–3.


In his second season at Kentucky, Calipari recruited the No. 1 rated point guard in the 2010 class, Brandon Knight. In addition to Knight, Calipari also signed two other 5-star recruits, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. In 2010–11, Kentucky finished the regular season with a record of 22–8, with a 10–6 record in SEC regular season play. UK would go on to win its second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship, defeating Florida, 70–54, in the SEC Tournament title game. As a result, Kentucky received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament (East Regional). During the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky would go on to defeat No. 1 overall seed Ohio State, 62–60, in the Sweet-16. In the Elite Eight, Calipari's team would avenge an early season loss to North Carolina, by defeating the Tar Heels, 76–69, securing Kentucky's first Final Four appearance since 1998. In the Final Four, UK fell to the eventual NCAA Champions, UConn, by one point, 56–55, finishing with a final record of 29–9.


Tom Izzo and Calipari, two of the highest paid college coaches in 2012,[26] talk while scouting a blue chip recruit

In this third season, Kentucky landed another No. 1 recruiting class with four consensus five star players: Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kyle Wiltjer. Kentucky came into the season ranked #2 in the country. They finished the regular season with a 30–1 record, their only loss to Indiana by a buzzer-beater and went 16–0 in conference play. In the SEC tournament, Kentucky lost in the championship game to Vanderbilt 71–64. In the NCAA Tournament, Calipari's team was selected as the overall #1 seed in the tournament, representing as the South Region #1 seed. Kentucky avenged the early season loss to Indiana beating them in the Sweet Sixteen 102–90, and knocked off Baylor in the Elite Eight 82–70, to advance to their second consecutive Final Four. In the Final Four in New Orleans, Kentucky first faced their in-state rival, the Louisville Cardinals and Rick Pitino, winning 69–61. Two days later, in the National Championship game, Kentucky played in another early season rematch against the Kansas Jayhawks, winning a hard-fought contest 67–59. The win secured Calipari his first NCAA Championship, an NCAA record 38-win season, and the 8th overall NCAA Championship for Kentucky. By doing so, John Calipari became the 5th head coach to win an NCAA Championship at Kentucky (an NCAA record), and the first coach to do so at the school since Tubby Smith in 1998.

Following the 2012 championship, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on May 4 that Calipari's contract had been renegotiated. Under the new contract, Calipari will make up to $8.0 million annually[27] (not including bonuses), which further cements his status as one of the most highly compensated college basketball coaches in the country.


In April 2019, Calipari agreed to a "lifetime" contract with Kentucky, centered on a 10-year coaching extension, and a lifetime paid ambassadorship when he retires.[28]

On April 9, 2024, Calipari announced he would be leaving Kentucky, but did not immediately announce plans to retire or accept another job.[29]


On April 10, 2024, Calipari was named the head coach at Arkansas, signing a 5-year deal worth $7 million a season. The deal also includes a signing bonus of $1 million, annual $500,000 retention bonuses, and incentives based on the Razorbacks' NCAA Tournament performances.[30]

College statistics[edit]

1978–79 UNC Wilmington 25 N/A N/A .235 N/A .840 0.3 0.9 0.0 0.0 1.2
1980–81 Clarion 19 N/A N/A .457 N/A .615 0.9 2.6 0.9 0.0 3.1
1981–82 Clarion 27 N/A N/A .387 N/A .717 1.0 5.3 1.3 0.1 5.3

Head coaching record[edit]


Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
UMass Minutemen (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1988–1996)
1988–89 UMass 10–18 5–13 8th
1989–90 UMass 17–14 10–8 6th NIT First Round
1990–91 UMass 20–13 10–8 T–3rd NIT Fourth Place
1991–92 UMass 30–5 13–3 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1992–93 UMass 24–7 11–3 1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
1993–94 UMass 28–7 14–2 1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
1994–95 UMass 29–5 13–3 1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1995–96 UMass 35–2* 15–1 1st NCAA Division I Final Four*
UMass: 189–70 (.730)* 91–41 (.689)
Memphis Tigers (Conference USA) (2000–2009)
2000–01 Memphis 21–15 10–6 2nd (National) NIT Third Place
2001–02 Memphis 27–9 12–4 1st (National) NIT Champion
2002–03 Memphis 23–7 13–3 1st (National) NCAA Division I Round of 64
2003–04 Memphis 22–8 12–4 T–1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
2004–05 Memphis 22–16 9–7 T–6th NIT Semifinal
2005–06 Memphis 33–4 13–1 1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2006–07 Memphis 33–4 16–0 1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2007–08 Memphis 38–2** 16–0** 1st ** NCAA Division I Runner-up**
2008–09 Memphis 33–4 16–0 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
Memphis: 214–68 (.759)** 101–25 (.802)**
Kentucky Wildcats (Southeastern Conference) (2009–2024)
2009–10 Kentucky 35–3 14–2 1st (East) NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2010–11 Kentucky 29–9 10–6 2nd (East) NCAA Division I Final Four
2011–12 Kentucky 38–2 16–0 1st NCAA Division I Champion
2012–13 Kentucky 21–12 12–6 T–2nd NIT First Round
2013–14 Kentucky 29–11 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Division I Runner-up
2014–15 Kentucky 38–1 18–0 1st NCAA Division I Final Four
2015–16 Kentucky 27–9 13–5 T–1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
2016–17 Kentucky 32–6 16–2 1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2017–18 Kentucky 26–11 10–8 T–4th NCAA Division I Sweet 16
2018–19 Kentucky 30–7 15–3 T–2nd NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2019–20 Kentucky 25–6 15–3 1st Postseason cancelled due to COVID-19
2020–21 Kentucky 9–16 8–9 8th
2021–22 Kentucky 26–8 14–4 T–2nd NCAA Division I Round of 64
2022–23 Kentucky 22–12 12–6 3rd NCAA Division I Round of 32
2023–24 Kentucky 23–10 13–5 T–2nd NCAA Division I Round of 64
Kentucky: 410–123 (.769) 198–65 (.753)
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (2024–present)
2024–25 Arkansas 0–0 0–0
Arkansas: 0–0 (–) 0–0 (–)
Total: 813–260 (.758)***

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

* ^abc UMass had its 4–1 record in the 1996 NCAA tournament and Final Four standing vacated after Marcus Camby was ruled ineligible due to his contact with a sports agent.

** ^abcdef  The NCAA vacated 38 wins and 1 loss from Memphis's 2007–08 season under Calipari due to violations of NCAA rules.[31]

*** ^ Under current NCAA official records, Calipari's record as of March 19, 2023, is 790–251 (.759), which accounts for the 4 vacated wins (and one vacated loss) in the 1995–96 NCAA Tournament at UMass, and the 38 vacated wins (and 1 vacated losses) at Memphis in the entire 2007–08 season.[32]

Calipari's actual on-the-court record without vacated games is 855–261 (.766)

****The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
New Jersey 1996–97 82 26 56 .317 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
New Jersey 1997–98 82 43 39 .524 3rd in Atlantic 3 0 3 .000 Lost in first round
New Jersey 1998–99 20 3 17 .150 7th in Atlantic Fired
Career 184 72 112 .391 3 0 3 .000

Overall wins[edit]

On February 26, 2011, after Kentucky beat the Florida Gators in Rupp Arena, Calipari was recognized for his 500th career victory as a Division I men's basketball coach. Over the course of the next few months, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) and the University of Kentucky exchanged letters debating whether Calipari had indeed reached the 500-win milestone. Due to games vacated by the NCAA in two different seasons (the 1996 season at UMass and the 2008 season at Memphis), the NCAA only officially recognized Calipari's 500th all time coaching victory on March 15, 2012.[33]

Coaching tree[edit]

Assistant coaches under Calipari who became NCAA or NBA head coaches

Awards and honors[edit]

Calipari was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

On September 11, 2015, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As of the 2024–25 NCAA Division I college basketball season, John Calipari is one of only 4 active coaches enshrined (Pitino, Izzo, and Self).

On September 21, 2021, the main basketball court at Clarion University's Tippin Gymnasium was officially renamed the John V. Calipari Court and will be known as "Coach Cal Court."


He has written several books, including Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life (2009)[34] and Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out (2014).[35] Additionally, Calipari starred in the 30 for 30 documentary from ESPN "One and Not Done" which details his professional career.

Personal life[edit]

Calipari, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy,[36] has been married to his wife since 1986. They have two daughters and a son. His daughter Erin played basketball at UMass,[36] and his son Brad played basketball at Kentucky and Detroit Mercy.[37][38][39] His second cousin is TJ Friedl, a baseball player.[40]

Calipari appeared at Governor Andy Beshear's July 9, 2020, press briefing to publicly state his support of the Kentucky statewide mask mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky stating: "We in our state have done an unbelievable job," Calipari said. "Let's take it up a notch. This is kind of like what I'm coaching: We're winning, and I'm being even harder. We are winning, let's be stronger." He made it clear that he volunteered to appear and the Governor did not request his appearance.[41]

Confrontation with John Chaney[edit]

On February 13, 1994, Temple University basketball coach John Chaney threatened to kill Calipari at a post-game news conference, while Calipari was speaking at a podium. Chaney entered the conference mid-speech, called him an "Italian son of a bitch," accusing Calipari of manipulating the referees. When Calipari attempted to respond to the accusations, Chaney yelled, "Shut up goddammit!", and proceeded to charge the stage, before being stopped by security. While being held back, Chaney shouted, "When I see you, I'm gonna kick your ass!" As security restrained Chaney, he repeatedly yelled, "I'll kill you!" and angrily admitted telling his players to "knock your fucking kids in the mouth." Chaney received a one-game suspension for the incident.[42][43] Chaney apologized a few days later and they eventually reconciled and would later become friends, occasionally posing for pictures pretending to fight for fans.[44][45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "April 27, 2009, Letter from NCAA to John Calipari". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved May 30, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Kerkhoff, Blair (January 29, 2016). "Kentucky's John Calipari returns to scene of first basketball job". Kansas City Star. Kansas City, Missouri. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  3. ^ Tait, Matt (April 2, 2012). "John Calipari talks about KU days". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  4. ^ "John Calipari Coaching Record". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2024.
  5. ^ **** "Hoops" Weiss. FOXSports.com. "Calipari using familiar formula for success "
  6. ^ Pedersen, Brian. "Kentucky Basketball: Breaking Down How UK's Platoon System Has Worked So Far". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  7. ^ "Kentucky's John Calipari is one of college basketball's best defensive coaches". Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Marcum, Jason (June 21, 2018). "Amazing John Calipari streak in the NBA Draft ends". A Sea Of Blue. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  9. ^ DeCourcy, Mike (1997). "An asterisk can't ruin UMass' Final Four dream | Sporting News, The | Find Articles at BNET". Findarticles.com. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  10. ^ "05FB-29-40" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Forde, Pat (February 23, 2010). "Chemistry lesson: handing out grades". Forde Minutes. ESPN.com. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Selena (March 25, 1997). "Calipari Apologizes Publicly for His Slur". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "NBA education of John Calipari". Umasshoops.com. March 13, 1998. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  14. ^ Roberts, Selena (March 27, 1997). "Stern Fines Calipari $25,000 for Insulting Reporter". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Cook, Ron (April 5, 2008). "Memphis coach Calipari remembers his roots". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  16. ^ John Calipari named Naismith Coach of the Year after leading Memphis to NCAA title game – NCAA Basketball – Yahoo! Sports Archived July 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Blake Griffin, John Calipari lead SI.com's All-America team". Sports Illustrated. March 18, 2009.
  18. ^ Mike DeCourcy. The Sporting News. "Pepperdine's offense is a recruiting tool, too" Archived December 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Andy Katz. ESPN.com. "Calipari committed to turning Memphis into legit contender"
  20. ^ Rose, Derrick (September 10, 2019). I'll Show You. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781641252874.
  21. ^ Veazey, Kyle (October 7, 2011). "Threat of lawsuit brings bonus repayment from John Calipari, R.C. Johnson, donation from Derrick Rose". Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  22. ^ WHAS11 News "John Calipari accepts offer to be new UK basketball coach Archived 2009-04-02 at the Wayback Machine", WHAS-TV, March 30, 2009. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.
  23. ^ a b ESPN News Services "Source: Calipari taking UK job", ESPN, March 31, 2009. Retrieved on March 31, 2009.
  24. ^ Howlett, Ken (May 15, 2009). "UK Basketball: John Calipari Speaks -- My Take". A Sea of Blue. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  25. ^ Wallace, Tom (October 18, 2016). University of Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing. ISBN 978-1613218921.
  26. ^ Tom Van Riper (March 5, 2012). "The highest-paid college basketball coaches". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  27. ^ "Kentucky gives Calipari a raise following NCAA title". Washington Post. Associated Press. May 4, 2012. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  28. ^ "John Calipari agrees to lifetime contract with Kentucky". Washington Post.
  29. ^ "John Calipari leaves Kentucky: Ex-Wildcats coach confirms departure amid ties to Arkansas opening". CBSSports.com. April 10, 2024.
  30. ^ "Hall Of Fame Coach John Calipari To Lead Razorback Basketball". arkansasrazorbacks.com. April 10, 2024.
  31. ^ "Memphis NCAA Violations". ESPN. August 21, 2009.
  32. ^ Brennan, Eamonn (June 13, 2011). "NCAA calls John Calipari's win total wrong". ESPN. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  33. ^ Anon., "Kentucky too much for WKU as top-seeded Cats cruise", Associated Press, March 16, 2012.
  34. ^ Scott, John Calipari with David (2009). Bounce back : overcoming setbacks to succeed in business and in life (1st Free Press hardcover ed.). New York: Free Press. ISBN 9781416597506.
  35. ^ Calipari, John; Sokolove, Michael (2014). Players first : coaching from the inside out. Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1594205736.
  36. ^ a b Rothstein, Michael (January 16, 2020). "'You can't say it's because of my dad anymore': Brad Calipari finds himself — and the court — in Detroit". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  37. ^ Adams, Jonathan (April 4, 2015). "Ellen Calipari, John's Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  38. ^ Dwyer, Danielle (April 4, 2015). "Erin Calipari, John's Daughter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  39. ^ Varney, Dennis (July 1, 2019). "Kentucky transfer Brad Calipari hopes to 'make a major impact' at new school". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  40. ^ "John Calipari's cousin TJ Friedl plays for the Louisville Bats". August 3, 2021.
  41. ^ "Gov. Andy Beshear: Kentuckians must wear masks in public starting Friday".
  42. ^ Moran, Malcolm (February 14, 1994). "COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Chaney Lambastes UMass's Calipari". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  43. ^ "John Chaney to John Calipari: "I'll Kill You"". YouTube. March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  44. ^ Chaney Calipari feud
  45. ^ Vautour, Matt (January 29, 2021). "John Calipari mourns former rival turned friend John Chaney". masslive. Retrieved March 9, 2023.

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