The headline reads: Kentucky’s John Calipari is a very good coach, but good enough for $4 million a year? We say no.
Writing for Forbes Magazine, Tom Van Riper said “A coach at a major conference basketball program has one mission, at a bare minimum: taking his team to the NCAA tournament. A school in the upper echelon feels pressure beyond that: making the Final Four and winning a national title, at least once in awhile. The pressure makes for an intensely competitive market for top coaches, close to 40 of whom now earn sevenfi gure annual incomes, according to research by USA Today.”
Interesting conclusions, yes?
Following Calipari on the Forbes overpaid list are Travis Ford at Oklahoma State and Oliver Purnell at DePaul, both make $1.8 million a season.
The Forbes view is splashy and provocative, but lacks substance and thus, merit.
In fact, in two seasons at Kentucky Calipari has delivered on court. His teams won 64 of 76 games (35-3 and 29-9). At Rupp Arena fans made UK first nationally in attendance again. And Wildcat fans have watched their team win 33 in a row at home.
And, these facts …
• A Rupp Arena record crowd 24,479 in January 2010. Kentucky defeated Louisville.
• Dec. 21, 2009, UK was first program in college hoops history to reach 2,000 wins.
• Leader in all-time wins extended: Today, 2,052 (76%), 14 ahead of Kansas, 19 more than North Carolina.
• Counting Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins, seven Kentucky players have been or will be drafted into the NBA. All were underclassmen, five one-and-doners.
Fans want wins, bragging rights and glow of celebrity and the more vocal element don’t care about graduation rates. They’re getting all that from Calipari’s persona and mercenaries he attracts.
And, Cal is making all right moves – signing McDonald allstars, giving money and time to the Jim Valvano V Foundation, signs autographs, kisses babies and fawns over blue-coiffed ladies dressed in blue and gone ga-ga.
His schedule includes an over promoted camp tour. And, he’s been politically savvy enough so far to not mention Richie Farmer.
Forbes’ analysis on this one is baloney.
Next Big Thing
Play for pay? Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney and league directors of athletics are discussion compensation for studentathletes. And NCAA president Mark Emmert has endorsed studying the idea.
Players would receive $2,000 to $5,000 a year for books, board, tuition and add-ons transportation, clothing and incidentals.
If the Big Ten votes the idea in and the NCAA approves, America’s Big Money league, the Southeastern
Conference, will be forced to follow or risk ceding the best prospects to Big Ten schools.
Free enterprise and a competitive market.
SEC Scrap Divisions?
When SEC directors of athletics meet in Destin, Florida this summer, Commissioner Mike Slive wants a scheduling review and possible abolition of the league’s East and West divisions. And, a basketball league schedule change from 16 to 18 conference games.
Why eliminate divisions?
The only reason presented so far that I’ve seen is about money naturally and a weak one. With Alabama basketball in mind, a Birmingham sports writer opined: “… when SEC West champions don’t get an NCAA (Tournament) bid three times in five years it’s time to scrap the divisions.”
The Crimson Tide should have gotten the NCAA bid that wen to woeful Tennessee. Yet, Alabama’s early schedule was comically weak and the Tide sputtered to the SEC finish line losing three of its last five games.
When Kentucky coach John Calipari attended the V. Foundation fete in Florida last week his wife Ellen stayed home to see son Bradley play in an AAU basketball game.
The coach explained at the banquet, “I can watch (Bradley) play, or you talk about yourself. What do think I’m going to do?”
Comment: One of the residuals
NBA-bound Kyrie Irving promised his father he will return to Duke and complete his college degree work in five years.
“Everybody in my family has gotten our degrees, our master’s,” Irving Senior told a New York Times reporter recently. “ We value the education aspect of it with Kyrie.”
Writer Pete Thamel added this: “Had they not, Kyrie would have been with John Calipari at Kentucky last season, where the godfather, (Rod) Strickland, works as an assistant coach.”
And so it goes.
You may reach Bob Watkins at Sprtsinky@aol.com