Blog Entry

No dog, or 'Cat, in the fight but...

Posted on: March 31, 2009 1:11 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2009 1:19 pm

My thoughts on the Calipari-to-Kentucky business:

Coach Cal is a great coach going to a great program, so in that sense it's a good fit.  Calipari does, however, have a past with a few question marks (in terms of rules violations) and has a distinct personality that I'm not sure translates perfectly to UK.  The thing is, when you're a premier program your list of acceptable hires is short to begin with, so if you can agree to terms with a guy like Calipari you have to get it done.

What does it mean for Kentucky?

Honestly, it's difficult to say.  It should bring stability and a new approach, on and off the court.  It probably brings in some players Kentucky hadn't counted on that could go a long way toward getting right back in the tournament and doing some damage.  But part of all this depends on what it means for Memphis.

So, what does it mean for Memphis?

I have already seen comments about Memphis's likely descent back into the regular ranks of CUSA as early as next season.  I don't see that happening, to be honest.  I certainly think they will be hard-pressed to keep the conference win streak in tact with a new coach, but they are still an attractive destination for coaches and players.  The new hire they bring in will not have the track record of Calipari, but they certainly have the clout to pull off a great hire.  The real question is: how much of that fantastic recruiting class bolts?  That will help answer what this means for Kentucky as well.  If Memphis can manage to convince a significant part of that class to return, and get another CUSA title with some damage done in March, it's possible that they could come out if this while hardly mising a step.  If the class exits, en masse, to follow the coach...along with a current roster member or two...then the program could be in serious trouble, for the short term at least.

So, the burning question for both schools is: which players were coach-loyal, which were program-loyal, and whose minds can be changed?  For Memphis there's the additional caveat: what recruits might their new hire bring along?

Every year when this coaching caousel begins, I get bothered by programs' lack of loyalty to their coaches, and by what a departing coach can do to a program.  I don't understand the win-or-be-fired mentality at the college level, because frankly while we're educating kids we should be teaching them about sportsmanship rather than giving them a "winning is everything" attitude.  This whole SOP extends all the way to recreational leagues for eight-year-olds, and frankly is part of why this nation's economy did what it did. (I won't go into the details of why I feel this way, as this is a sports site and I would have to leave the realm of sports to adequately explain my reasoning.)  Aside from that, it's a real shame that when a coach departs it has to come with a significant loss of players as well...leaving a program potentially in shambles.  I understand that the decommitting rules are in place to protect the kids - a noble goal - but I think perhaps they should be revisited.  Better minds than I could perhaps find a more equitable way to change coaches.


Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: April 1, 2009 10:06 am

No dog, or 'Cat, in the fight but...

I tend to agree with all of that.  Why did they treat Gillispie the way they did?  A lot of things point to him being kind of a jerk, but it's not like he had awful seasons, and they didn't give him time.  I don't buy the argument a lot of folks make that people in other walks of life aren't loyal to their companies and vice versa...and would get fired (like Gillispie) or abandon a company (like Calipari) the second they could get more money.  Maybe it is that way for the most part, but that doesn't mean it should be.

The "all growth is good" and "more money is always better than less money, regardless of other factors" mentality in business - which can be linked to the "win or lose your job" mentality in sports - is a large part of the reason this country's economic model proved to be nonviable.  I can only hope that whatever comes down the pipeline to fix things helps stabilize these situations in the sports world as well.  I believe that they are a symptom of the larger flaw in our system.

Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: March 31, 2009 5:00 pm

No dog, or 'Cat, in the fight but...

 UK quite frankly got lucky with Coach Cal. He's probably the best coach to never win a National Title. He's taken two mid major programs to final fours. He gets top notch kids to come to te one of the worst cities to play ball. Possibly pays them. Or says "I don't give a crap if you go to class or do anything, come here b/c you HAVE to go somewhere, and we'll have you in the NBA the day after the season ends."

See: Evans, Rose.

Kentucky doesn't deserve Calipari. I don't really care one way or another about Gillespie as a coach, but their stupid, shameless comments that it was his inability to "embrace all the position means in this state" as the reason for his firing is horse crap.

I've got no problem with UK, but here are my beliefs on the subject.

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