"Coach Cal"; University of Kentucky Head Coach; NCAA Champions 2012
After bringing the University of Massachusetts basketball program to national prominence in the `90s and resurrecting the Memphis basketball program in the 2000s, John Calipari became the 22nd coach in UK history, and the seventh in the last 79 years.
In 1996, Calipari moved from UMass to the NBA after leading the Minutemen to the Final Four. For his efforts, Calipari was named Naismith National Coach of the Year. Calipari led the Tigers to the 2008 NCAA title game, and Memphis' 38 wins in 2007-08 made him the winningest coach for a single season in NCAA history. As a result, Calipari was named Naismith National Coach of the Year for a second time in his career. He is only the second coach to receive the honor multiple times since the award's inception in 1987. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is the other to do so.
Calipari, the 2009 Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year, led the Tigers to nine-straight 20-win campaigns and nine-consecutive postseason appearances, the only Memphis coach to do that. He posted 252 wins -- 28 wins per season -- as the Tigers' head coach, making him the winningest coach in school history.
Calipari's success began in his first season at Memphis, but it was the last four years that placed him in the NCAA and school record books. The Tigers' 137 wins the last four seasons made Calipari the winningest coach in a four-year span in NCAA Division I history. His 104 victories in the last three seasons are the second-most in NCAA Division I history over a three-year span.
He directed the Tigers to the top of both national polls in 2007-08, becoming the fifth coach in NCAA Division I history to take two different schools to the No. 1 ranking. Calipari led UMass to No. 1 in 1996. He joined Roy Williams, Ralph Miller, Frank McGuire and Eddie Sutton in that elite club.
The last four seasons, Calipari directed the Tigers to four-straight 30- win campaigns and is the first coach in NCAA Division I history to record four-straight 30-win ledgers.
With his success at Memphis, Calipari's overall record soared to 445-140 for an impressive 76.1 winning percentage. His 445 wins are the secondmost in NCAA Division I history in the first 17 years, Roy Williams being the other.
Calipari's 76.1 winning percentage is the third-highest among active NCAA Division I coaches with 10 years experience at college basketball's Division I level, trailing only Roy Williams and Mark Few. On the NCAA Division I list for winning percentage for all coaches (minimum 10 years), Calipari is in 14th place and ahead of Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Bob Huggins and Lute Olson.
With his four 30-win seasons at Memphis, Calipari now has six for his career, which is the fourth-most for a head coach in NCAA Division I history. For his career (16 years), Calipari has 15 20-win seasons and nine 25- win campaigns.
Much like he did at UMass, when his players graduated at nearly 80 percent, Calipari did the same at Memphis. Fifteen of the last 18 seniors that came through the Tiger program have earned their bachelor's degrees and the three seniors this season are on schedule to graduate in the spring of 2009.
Calipari compiled a 193-71 record (.731) during his eight-year career at Massachusetts, including a 108-44 mark (.684) in Atlantic 10 play. In addition to five-straight NCAA Tournaments, UMass also made two appearances in the NIT, advancing to the NIT final four in 1991. The 1990-91 season was the first of six-straight seasons in which the Minutemen won at least 20 games.
Calipari's personal 20-win streak has reached the 15-season mark as all of his Memphis clubs won 20-plus games. In his final season at UMass, Calipari was named the 1996 Naismith National Coach of the Year and The Sporting News National Coach of the Year. He was also named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year for the third time in four years, as well as Basketball Times East Region Coach of the Year.
During the Minutemen's 35-2 season in 1995-96, UMass posted wins over Kentucky, Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Louisville. UMass ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final regular season poll after being the top-ranked team for nine weeks earlier in the year. The Minutemen also won their first 26 games of the season, setting a school record for most consecutive wins.
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