Kentucky earned a hard-fought road win over Georgia on Saturday night. At 22-5, the Wildcats are once again in position to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. Calipari will enjoy employment in Lexington for as long as he wants. He’s in a far more stable situation than most in his profession. Calipari used his unique position to stand up for his coaching brethren, including Georgia’s Mark Fox and Mark Gottfried, who will be dismissed at North Carolina State after the season ends.
“We’re firing coaches in midseason. Are you s——- me? We’re firing coaches in midseason. You know what I’m putting my contract? You can fire me at midseason but you’re going to have to pay me $3 million. Oh, you’ll let me stay now, won’t you. … Every coach in the country PUT IT IN YOUR CONTRACT. What if Mark Gottfried goes on a run at the end and gets to the NCAA Tournament, which he was in four out of five years? Two Sweet 16s, which is not done at NC State. What happens if he now if he goes and wins and gets another team [in?] He had good players but they’re young, they’re like my team. It’s hard to do this with young guys.”
Calipari has the latitude to speak out on such things. He’s also an interesting messenger to decry a win-at-all-costs culture. One could be forgiven for unpacking the world’s smallest violin to provide the soundtrack for millionaire coaches complaining while their players aren’t properly compensated. But bird of a feather have to stick together, especially when the headwinds feel strong.