Students get schooled by Coach Cal


Head coach John Calipari yells at his players during the first half of the game against Tennessee at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Photo by Zach Brake

By Shelby Schott

Although UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari is best-known for his second-ranked team, his expertise is not confined solely to the basketball court.

Speaking to a leadership and development class on Tuesday, Calipari offered advice and insight on teamwork.

“Leadership is about service,” Calipari said.

Calipari told attendees  how to grow as leaders and meet their goals. He emphasized several aspects of leadership, including making a difference and accepting responsibility and the sacrifices that come with leadership  and teamwork. Drawing on personal experience, Calipari related leadership to an academic level.

“You’re going to get knocked to your knees … It’s what life is,” he said.

“I thought it was impressive when Coach Cal said how important the fact that the players and he are like family (is),” equine management senior Angie Malone said. “Also, that they weren’t there to serve him, but he was there to serve them.”

Life experiences like transitioning from previous positions, such as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, allowed Calipari to emphasize to students how to “Bounce Back,” the title of his recently published book.

Calipari said fate intervenes in life, but one cannot worry about the result. Instead, he said one must deal with them after his or her performance.

“Hard work and passion will beat talent,” Calipari said.

Grace Gorrell, the instructor for the class, said “Professor Calipari” was able to draw connections about leadership from areas of his life on and off the court.

“What makes him such a great teacher to all of us about leadership is how genuine and honest he is, not only about his success, but also the mistakes he has made along the way and how he recovered from those,” Gorrell said.