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Kentucky head coach John Calipari earns another accolade on a notable anniversary

Isaiah Pinto
Kentucky head coach John Calipari instructs players during the Kentucky vs. Tennessee mens’s basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 103-92. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

During a thrilling night at Rupp Arena, Kentucky showcased its prowess on the court, securing a decisive victory against the Ole Miss Rebels with a final score of 75-63.

The Wildcats’ triumph marked multiple significant milestones, first marking their first victory since their dominating performance against Vanderbilt a week ago, where they triumphed with a staggering 109-77 score.

Adding to the jubilation of the evening was the monumental achievement of coach John Calipari, who notched his 400th in-conference win.

The remarkable milestone is a testament to Calipari’s success and the enduring legacy he has built at the University of Kentucky.

Interestingly for Calipari, the game also marked the 30th anniversary of the infamous event in which John Chaney, former Temple basketball head coach, threatened to kill Calipari on live television.

Before Calipari became head coach of Kentucky, he was the head coach for UMass and, after Massachusetts defeated Temple in a tight 56-55 game, Chaney crashed the post-game press conference.

“You had the best officiating you could get here, and for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that,” he yelled. “I just got my ass blasted for giving them hell down in West Virginia, and here you get a hell of a job right here today, good job, three class guys and you pick them out and single them out!”

Calipari’s cool demeanor and lack of response to his outburst caused the scene to escalate, with Chaney rushing toward him yelling, “I’ll kill you!”

This altercation between the two legends quickly went viral and integrated itself into an iconic scene in basketball lore.

Surprisingly, since the altercation the two became friends, chalking up the outburst to the heat of the moment.

Calipari’s tenure with the University of Kentucky has spanned an impressive 14 seasons, during which he has left an indelible mark on the basketball program.

Since joining in 2009, his leadership has propelled the team to success in the NCAA Tournament, boasting an impressive tally of 32 wins.

Among these victories are four Final Four triumphs, seven Elite Eight achievements and eight Sweet Sixteen conquests.

He prides himself on being a “player-first” coach, which includes building up his players to help them reach their dreams.

While the 2023-24 season has been up-and-down, Calipari will have another opportunity to find success on Saturday, Feb. 17, when the Cats travel to play in Auburn Arena.

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  • D

    Debbie BrownFeb 17, 2024 at 11:15 am

    Very informative article!!

  • P

    Paul McDowellFeb 17, 2024 at 11:04 am

    I thought coming into this season that this team and all of the talent and size they had would be very hard to beat. But it doesn’t seem like they are playing no where near their potential. Don’t know the problem? But with the way they’re playing right now. They won’t go far in the NCAA tournament. Again. I lived in Tennessee for 30 plus years. And had to put up with all the smack talk every time they beat us at anything. So I would really like to finish the season on a good note. Thank you and GO CATS.

    • R

      Ruth CorleyMar 13, 2024 at 5:46 pm

      Well you got your wish! Cats took care of the Vols.