From the desk of Ralph Lee:
I know it might be a little early for UK fans to ponder the thought or the question, but what might be the legacy left behind in 5, 10 or 15 years when Coach John Calipari walks away from coaching the Big Blue. It always a poignant thought when a coach walks into an historic franchise, whether it be on a Collegiate or Professional stage, where he will fit in amongst the great coaches at that institution or organization. Of course there are several things that factor into this; such as what did the past coaches due or accomplish, how many Championships (both Conference and the whole “Shabang”), what kind of players the coach can attract or recruit and how “clean” of a tenure he has. So with that being said, let me look at a few scenarios (realistic of course) based on Cal coaching UK for 10 years (9 more to go of course) and see where each may leave Coach Cal standing in front of the eyes of Big Blue Nation.
Scenario 1…. He coaches UK for 10 years, reels in 7 SEC Championships (3 in a row), produces 18 All-Americans (1st, 2nd or 3rd) team, 21 First Round selections in the NBA Draft, 3 Final Fours, 6 Elite Eights and 1 Sweet 16, 1 NCAA Championship but 3 different investigations into the eligibility of players based on grades or received improprieties. Where would this scenario land Cal on the list of coaches to ever coach at UK?
Scenario 2…. He coaches UK for 10 years, brings in 6 SEC Championships (4 in a row), produces 16 All-Americans (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) team, 19 First-Round selections in the NBA Draft, 1 Final Four, 6 Elite Eights, 2 Sweet 16’s (one year they get bounced in the 2nd Rd), 1 NCAA Championship but a NCAA investigation accuses Cal and UK of some violations and threatens to strip them of the Championship and place them on probation. Where would this scenario land Cal on the list of coaches to ever coach at UK?
Scenario 3…. He coaches UK for 10 years, brings in 6 SEC Championships (however, none consecutively), produces 19 All-Americans (1st, 2nd or 3rd) team, 26 First- Round Selections (including an unprecedented at least 2 per each Draft for the remaining 9 years), 3 Final Fours, 5 Elite Eights, and 2 Sweet 16’s and the only blemish being the current investigation into the Eric Bledsoe situation right now. Where would this scenario land Cal on the list of coaches to ever coach at UK?
By the way, each of the aforementioned scenarios also includes at least 25 wins per year with 7 of those years being 30+ wins. These are three very real instances in which UK Fans may be happy or disappointed depending on the scenario but one thing is for sure, everyone would have an opinion on where he would rank among the UK coaches. Consider that his opposition is Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Eddie Sutton if we wanted to rank the Top 5 Coaches of all-time at UK. Where would Mr. Calipari Fall in your opinion? I will deliver my verdict on an up coming dialogue.