Kentucky Wildcats’ head coach John Calipari has become one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history.
He has led three different teams, the Massachusetts Minutemen, Memphis Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats to the Final Four, won the 2011-12 championship and has directed the Wildcats to three final four appearances since taking over in 2009.
Calipari, however, was not successful when he left UMass for the New Jersey Nets in 1996. He posted a record of 72-112, had one playoff appearance (in which they were swept) and was fired after a 3-17 start in his third season.
Calipari believes he would be a much better coach this time around.
“I think I would be [better than my previous NBA stint] if I did it, but that’s not the point for me,” Calipari said on ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” on Tuesday. “Can I say this in a humble way — I don’t need the money. If I stop coaching today at Kentucky, my toes are up and I’m eating Cheetos and I’m fine.
“But here’s my point: What’s happening for me, what I’m feeling about coaching, goes beyond wins, goes beyond building a franchise. Can I do that in the NBA? If there was some place that I felt that it would be more than just coaching and trying to win … I’m not there to help you build your franchise value or help sell tickets. That doesn’t move me. What moves me now is what I’m doing and how I’m helping families.”
Calipari obviously seems happy and has a good thing going at Kentucky.