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October 7 – John Calipari, Head Coach Men’s Basketball, University of Kentucky

Posted on Oct 4, 2021

The Rotary Club of Lexington  held its weekly meeting Thursday, October 7,  at the Central Bank Center and via Zoom. The program  featured  John Calipari, Head Coach Men’s Basketball, University of Kentucky. To attend via Zoom  please email, Lunch needed to be pre ordered and is currently sold out but you can always join us for the meeting! There will be extra seating. Parking is off of High Street, Gate 2.

  A “players-first” coach with a penchant for helping people reach their dreams, this week’s speaker, John Calipari, has guided six University of Kentucky men’s basketball teams to the Final Four and led one to a national championship and helped 54 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his 29-year college coaching career.

During Calipari’s 12 seasons at UK, he leads all coaches in NCAA Tournament wins (31), Final Four appearances (4), Elite Eight berths (7) and Sweet 16 showings (8). He’s won 6 SEC Tournament titles (and appeared in 8 of 10 possible title games) and won 6 SEC regular-season championships.

In advancing to the 2015 Final Four, Coach Cal became one of just three coaches all-time to make four Final Fours in a five-year span, joining Mike Krzyzewski and John Wooden as the other coaches to achieve that feat. Twice at UK (in 2012 and in 2015) his teams have won 38 games, tying his 2008 Memphis team for the most wins in college basketball history. At the end of the 2014-15 season, Calipari became the 96th coach to join the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, considered one of the ultimate achievements in the game.

Calipari’s on court success overshadows a much more significant picture. In his goal to lead a players-first program, he has helped 54 players earn NBA Draft selections. Calipari’s players have entered the league NBA-ready, garnering 26 All-Star selections. Six of his players have been tabbed All-NBA, 3 have been named NBA Rookie of the Year, and 15 players from Calipari’s first 11

teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams. Calipari has also stressed academics. All 23 players at the University of Kentucky who were eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years have graduated, including five players who earned their degree in just three years. Calipari’s teams routinely have posted a combined team grade-point average of 3.0 or better, including a 3.763 team GPA during the 2020 spring semester.

His foundation, The Calipari Foundation, has raised millions of dollars to help the lives of those in need, especially those impacted by natural disasters over the past ten years. In 2019, when federal workers were without pay due to a government shutdown, he, his wife, Ellen, and his foundation assisted workers with financial help and grocery gift cards. His latest efforts include spearheading the creation of the John Mc-Lendon Minority Leadership Initiative, a nationwide coach-driven initiative to provide minorities a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their network and instilling the values of John McLendon: integrity, education, leadership, and mentorship. Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders.

Author of five books, including the New York Times Best Seller, Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out, Calipari is a master of communication and maximizing talent. He lives by the motto, “It’s never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it’s about how high you bounce back.”

Source: UK Athletics Department website

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