|Current Team:||Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball|
|Birth Day:||February 10, 1959|
|Birth Place:||Moon, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He played point guard for UNC- Wilmington and Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
John Calipari plays for the team Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball
Calipari was born in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. He is of Italian descent. He attended Moon Area High School and graduated in 1978.
From 1982 to 1985, Calipari was an assistant at the University of Kansas under Ted Owens and Larry Brown. Calipari had several jobs as the lowest coach in the pecking order when Ted Owens hired him as a volunteer assistant for the Jayhawks' 1982–83 season, including serving food at the training table. "I was blessed to have the chance. Can you imagine being 22, 23 and your first opportunity to be around the game is at a program like Kansas?"
From 1985 to 1988, he was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh under Roy Chipman and Paul Evans. From 1988 to 1996, he was head coach at the University of Massachusetts. From 1996 to 1999, he was head coach and Executive VP of basketball operations for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. During the 1999–2000 season, he was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers under coach Larry Brown, before moving on to his next position at the University of Memphis.
From 1988 to 1996 at UMass, Calipari led the Minutemen program to five consecutive Atlantic 10 titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, including periods where the program was ranked first nationally. He finished with a 193–71 record overall, with a 91–41 record in Atlantic 10 conference games. Calipari was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993, and 1996. He was also named the Naismith, NABC, Basketball Times & Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 1996. He led UMass to its first-ever appearance in the Final Four with the play of the John R. Wooden Award winner and Naismith College Player of the Year Marcus Camby, although this appearance was later vacated by the NCAA because Camby had accepted about $28,000 worth of gifts, in particular a gold chain, from two sports agents who were luring him to enter the NBA draft after his Sophomore season.
In the Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky in 1992, official Lenny Wirtz issued Calipari a controversial technical foul for being outside the coach's box during a crucial UMass possession. Kentucky went on to face Duke in the next round in one of the greatest games in college basketball history, won on a last-second shot by Christian Laettner.
In 1993, UMass defeated defending NCAA champion and preseason #1 North Carolina in the pre-season NIT in Madison Square Garden. The following year #3 UMass defeated defending NCAA champion and #1 Arkansas in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off classic, which resulted in UMass becoming the first New England college basketball team to be voted #1 in the Associated Press poll.
On February 13, 1994, Temple University basketball coach John Chaney threatened to kill Calipari at a post-game news conference, while Calipari was speaking at a podium. Chaney entered the conference mid-speech, called him an "Italian son of a bitch," accusing Calipari of manipulating the referees. When Calipari attempted to respond to the accusations, Chaney yelled, "Shut up goddammit!", and proceeded to charge the stage, before being stopped by security. While being held back, Chaney shouted, "When I see you, I'm gonna kick your ass!" As security restrained Chaney, he repeatedly yelled, "I'll kill you!" and angrily admitted telling his players to "knock your fucking kids in the mouth." Chaney received a one-game suspension for the incident. Cheney apologized a few days later and they eventually reconciled.
* ^ UMass had its 4–1 record in the 1996 NCAA tournament and Final Four standing vacated after Marcus Camby was ruled ineligible due to his contact with a sports agent.
In the 1996–97 season, John Calipari replaced Butch Beard as head coach of the New Jersey Nets. After a 26–56 debut season, the Nets made a major draft-day trade in June 1997, acquiring Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris and two other players in exchange for Tim Thomas.
In 1997, while coaching the New Jersey Nets, Calipari directed profanities at Star-Ledger sports reporter Dan Garcia and referred to him as a "Mexican idiot". Garcia sued for $5,000,000 for emotional distress. Though the case was dismissed and Calipari apologized for his remarks, he was still fined $25,000 by the NBA.
The 1997–98 season was a lone bright spot for the Nets in the late 1990s. The team played well under Calipari, winning 43 games and qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Nets were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 playoffs in three straight games.
In this third season, Kentucky landed another No. 1 recruiting class with four consensus five star players: Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kyle Wiltjer. Kentucky came into the season ranked #2 in the country. They finished the regular season with a 30–1 record, their only loss to Indiana by a buzzer-beater and went 16–0 in conference play. In the SEC tournament, Kentucky lost in the championship game to Vanderbilt 71–64. In the NCAA Tournament, Calipari's team was selected as the overall #1 seed in the tournament, representing as the South Region #1 seed. Kentucky avenged the early season loss to Indiana beating them in the Sweet Sixteen 102–90, and knocked off Baylor in the Elite Eight 82–70, to advance to their second consecutive Final Four. In the Final Four in New Orleans, Kentucky first faced their in-state rival, the Louisville Cardinals and Rick Pitino, winning 69–61. Two days later, in the National Championship game, Kentucky played in another early season rematch against the Kansas Jayhawks, winning a hard-fought contest 67–59. The win secured Calipari his first NCAA Championship, an NCAA record 38-win season, and the 8th overall NCAA Championship for Kentucky. By doing so, John Calipari became the 5th head coach to win an NCAA Championship at Kentucky (an NCAA record), and the first coach to do so at the school since Tubby Smith in 1998.
Calipari became head coach at the University of Memphis in 2000. In Calipari's first nine years as head coach at Memphis, he won 214 games (38 wins were vacated) and posted seven consecutive 20-win seasons, plus one more in his final season (including an NCAA record four consecutive 30-win seasons, though the third season was vacated and this record no longer holds). He also earned seven consecutive postseason bids (plus one in his final season). His 2007–2008 team's 38 victories set a new NCAA Division I Men's Basketball record for most victories in a season, a record that now belongs to the 2011–2012 Kentucky Wildcats due to NCAA violations that vacated all of Memphis' wins. The nine consecutive 20-win seasons and the nine consecutive postseason appearances would have been the most in school history, though that officially stands now at seven because of the vacated 2007–08 season. He was named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2006, 2008, and 2009. In 2008, he was named Naismith College Coach of the Year, receiving the honor for the second time. In 2009, he was named Sports Illustrated College Basketball Coach of the Year.
As a college coach, Calipari has 21 20-win seasons (20 official) and 9 30-win seasons (8 official). He has also coached 6 teams to the NIT, winning the NIT Championship at Memphis in 2002. He is one of only four coaches in NCAA Division I history to direct three different schools to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Calipari was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2006 and 2008, Memphis earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In 2008, Calipari's Tigers advanced to the national championship game, their first under his leadership. They also won 38 games, the most regular-season wins in NCAA history (his 2011–12 Kentucky team would also go on to win 38 games). His team, however, would lose to the Kansas Jayhawks, 75–68, in overtime. This team later had its entire season record vacated by the NCAA because ETS invalidated Derrick Rose's SAT. Despite this, Rose still denies any wrongdoing. The NCAA began to investigate the test and contacted the ETS. Because the NCAA had begun to investigate, ETS decided to review the test. The ETS sent three letters to Rose's family's former address in Chicago (instead of his dorm in Memphis) to ask that Rose verify some information on his test. Because he did not reply to the letters, ETS invalidated his SAT. This happened even though the NCAA investigated and reported that they could not find significant evidence to prove that Rose did not take the test. Because the ETS had invalidated the test, the NCAA retroactively declared Rose ineligible. To this day, the official position of the NCAA is that Rose did take his own SAT. If not for the vacated wins, Calipari would be the winningest coach in Tigers history, as he would have 252 wins to Larry Finch's 220.
On January 21, 2008, Calipari led the Tigers to the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll for only the second time in school history.
Since 2009, the Wildcats head coach John Calipari has been on the top of the high school basketball recruiting mountain. Recruiting has always been paramount for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. According to the Washington Post, Calipari's teams have been a defensive powerhouse, historically ranking in the top 50 in Ken Pomeroy's defensive debate. Because of his successful recruiting John Calipari is able to bring in elite talent, and does not have to use a mundane 2-3 zone, or man to man defensive tactics to gain a defensive edge. Due to the use of four seven foot front court players, Kentucky has had the ability to display their defensive shot blocking presence.
On March 30, 2009, four days after Memphis' season ending loss to Missouri in the NCAA Tournament, multiple sources reported that Calipari would agree to be the head coach at the University of Kentucky, after UK's head coach, Billy Gillispie, was fired after two unsuccessful seasons at the school. Calipari rejected a counter offer by Memphis for Kentucky's 8 year, $31.65 million contract.
According to university officials, John Calipari signed a written contract on March 31, 2009. The contract was worth $34.65 million over 8 years, plus incentives. On April 1, 2009, the University of Kentucky Director of Athletics, Mitch Barnhart, formally introduced John Calipari as the new coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. During the press conference, Calipari spoke at length about his relationships with former UK basketball players and coaches, and also in his difficulties in accepting the UK job, largely due to his deep emotional ties with both the city of Memphis and University of Memphis. Calipari stated, "Coming to UK was the easy part, it was leaving the city of Memphis that was the hard part." He went on to refer to the University of Kentucky coaching position as his "dream job". Calipari became the 22nd coach overall at Kentucky, and just the 7th coach in the last 79 years for the Wildcats.
In his first year as head coach, Calipari had a highly touted recruiting class, including the No. 1 overall rated recruit, John Wall, plus fellow 5-star recruits, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton. On December 21, 2009, Calipari led the Cats to their 12th victory of the season and the program's 2,000th victory ever. Kentucky won its 44th SEC Regular Season Championship in 2009–10, with a 14–2 conference record. Calipari's team followed this up with the UK's 26th SEC Tournament Championship, with an overtime defeat of Mississippi State, 75–74, in the SEC Tournament title game. In the NCAA Tournament, however, No. 1 seed Kentucky (East Region) was upset by West Virginia in the Elite 8, to finish the season at 35–3.
In 2010, ESPN.com writer Pat Forde, in his "Forde Minutes" column, said of the 1992 team:
On May 28, 2010, John Calipari, Derrick Rose, and University of Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson reached a $100,000 out-of-court settlement with three attorneys who represented Memphis season ticket holders and threatened a lawsuit over the vacated 2007–08 season. Also as part of the settlement, Calipari donated his near-$232,000 bonus to the Memphis scholarship fund.
In his second season at Kentucky, Calipari recruited the No. 1 rated point guard in the 2010 class, Brandon Knight. In addition to Knight, Calipari also signed two other 5-star recruits, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. In 2010–11, Kentucky finished the regular season with a record of 22–8, with a 10–6 record in SEC regular season play. UK would go on to win its second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship, defeating Florida, 70–54, in the SEC Tournament title game. As a result, Kentucky received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament (East Regional). During the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky would go on to defeat No. 1 overall seed Ohio State, 62–60, in the Sweet-16. In the Elite Eight, Calipari's team would avenge an early season loss to North Carolina, by defeating the Tar Heels, 76–69, securing Kentucky's first Final Four appearance since 1998. In the Final Four, UK fell to the eventual NCAA Champions, UConn, by one point, 56–55, finishing with a final record of 29–9.
On February 26, 2011, after Kentucky beat the Florida Gators in Rupp Arena, Calipari was recognized for his 500th career victory as a Division I men's basketball coach. Over the course of the next few months, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) and the University of Kentucky exchanged letters debating whether Calipari had indeed reached the 500-win milestone. Due to games vacated by the NCAA in two different seasons (the 1996 season at UMass and the 2008 season at Memphis), the NCAA only officially recognized Calipari's 500th all time coaching victory on March 15, 2012.
In his 22 official seasons (23 seasons overall) as a collegiate head coach, Calipari's record is 667–194 (.775). His record in the month of March is 107–37 (.743). His NCAA adjusted (the records of two appearances being removed) official record in the NCAA tournament is 38–12 (.760), and in the NIT is 15–6 (.714). His teams have made 15 NCAA tournament appearances (13 official, due to 2 later being vacated), including reaching the Sweet Sixteen 12 times (10 official, due to 2 later being vacated), the Elite Eight 10 times (8 official, due to 2 later being vacated), the Final Four 6 times (4 official, due to 2 later being vacated), the NCAA Championship Game 3 times (twice officially, with the 2008 Championship Game appearance while at Memphis being vacated by the NCAA), winning the NCAA Championship at Kentucky in 2012, and finishing NCAA Runner Up in 2014.
Following the 2012 championship, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on May 4 that Calipari's contract had been renegotiated. Under the new contract, Calipari will make up to $8.0 million annually (not including bonuses), which further cements his status as one of the most highly compensated college basketball coaches in the country. Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke University team, leads the NCAA at an annual salary of $9.8 million.
The “Platoon System”, established under John Calipari not only provided life for the University of Kentucky's basketball team, but it also provided an important defensive weapon. The Platoon System was introduced in 2014, and consisted of playing 10 men in legions of five. Each platoon includes 3 ball handlers and 2 taller players. What makes the Platoon System so special is that most teams cannot play two seven foot players on the court at all time.
On September 11, 2015 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As of the 2015–2016 NCAA Division I college basketball season, John Calipari is one of only 6 active coaches enshrined.
In April 2019, Calipari agreed to a "lifetime" contract with Kentucky, centered on a 10-year coaching extension, and a lifetime paid ambassadorship when he retires.
Calipari, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy, has been married to his wife Ellen since 1986. They have two daughters, Erin, a neuropharmacologist who played basketball at UMass, and Megan, a French pastry chef, and a son Brad, who played basketball at Kentucky for two seasons. Brad graduated from Kentucky in May 2019 with two remaining seasons of college eligibility, and chose to transfer to the University of Detroit Mercy to complete his college playing career.
****The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, John Calipari is 63 years, 7 months and 21 days old. John Calipari will celebrate 64th birthday on a Friday 10th of February 2023.
Find out about John Calipari birthday activities in timeline view here.