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NCAA to Cal: “Don’t Be CoY”


I read yesterday, during my daily NCAA basketball news-gathering session (which is to say, a lecture), a somewhat upsetting “discussion” on who should win the 2012 Coach of the Year award.  Surely, I thought to myself, this would be an opportunity to stroke my “Kentucky Ego” and read about our program a little more.  What I found, though, did more harm to my pride than good.  You can take a minute or two to read about it here if you like (relevant information located about halfway down the page).


After reviewing various writers’ lists for CoY, I noticed that Cal didn’t get higher than second on any list (John Gasaway has him listed at #2); Eamonn Brennon was the only other contributor to mention him, throwing that bronze medal his way.  Among those coaches getting the most praise: Frank Haith (Missouri) and Steve Fisher (San Diego State).  Listed within the praise for Haith was this gem:  “There’s usually a transition period with a first-year coach, but that hasn’t been the case in Columbia.”  Yes, Haith is getting serious contention for taking over a program that wasn’t doing so well, and surprising everyone by getting them ranked in the top five (and almost number one).  Meanwhile, two years ago, Calipari was in his first year at UK, after taking over a team that missed the NCAA tournament and lost its leading scorer, and had the Wildcats ranked number during the start of SEC play, and in the top five or six all season.  But who won that year?  Jim Boeheim.


Steve Fisher, meanwhile, gets lauded for replacing a team that was left bare after its top players left.  Specifically, they say: “Steve Fisher immediately and unflinchingly replaced one first-round NBA draft pick, three senior starters and the heart of last year’s team, and look at the Aztecs just one year later. Remarkable.”  Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?  Maybe like a guy who had five players get drafted in the first round, and still went to the Final Four the next year?  You would think that that coach would win CoY, but instead, Mike Brey of Notre Dame took home the honors.  Seem a little bit like a double standard?


Look, I get it, people like to think that Calipari is more a recruiter than a “game coach”, and the award should go to the coach who does more with less.  But the measure of success in college basketball is not overachieving, it’s winning games.  Cal has gone on an absolute tear since arriving almost three Aprils ago, and to see him not get a little recognition for that accomplishment is a little insulting.  Does he care?  Maybe a little bit, if at all.  But I care, and frankly, I’m getting tired of it.  The double standard being applied is ridiculous.  Haith is such a good coach for turning around a mediocre program in a year?  Cal wrote the book on quick turnarounds, co-authored by one John Wall.  Fisher replaced one NBA caliber player and three seniors, and is ranked?  Try five NBA players and getting to a Final Four.


Bottom line, if you don’t want to reward Calipari for what he’s done, fine.  Give your awards to Steve Prohm (who actually has a good case for it this year), or whatever little-nobody-school coach seems most adorable to you, and makes you feel fuzzy for “overcoming the odds”.  Rick Pitino is a good example.  But please don’t try to measure other coaches who you deem more “worthy” with a measuring stick that clearly favors, and indeed seems modeled on our beloved Coach Cal.  The man has been flawless for three years, and it’s about time somebody acknowledged that.  Give him the Coach of the Year already, for crying out loud.  Both he and his current program deserve that much.

(Yes, I’m aware that Cal won two Naismith CoY awards at UMass and Memphis.  I don’t care about them.  He needs to get one here.  Go Cats.)

Article written by Corey Nichols

51 responses to “NCAA to Cal: “Don’t Be CoY””

  1. wilDCat

    Corey, I find your honesty refreshing. I also agree with your statements. The problem with Calipari though is his team’s jersey says “Kentucky” on it and therefore all critics immediately take him out of the running. Just like critics do when it comes to players and all-America, all-SEC, player of the year, etc. kind of honors.

  2. HOO HOO

    Calipari can’t win the big one with the most talent, therefore, he is not a good coach


  3. Blue_Cat75

    I don’t care who gets CoY as long as UK gets #8.

  4. uk3k

    this article is right on. i agree that Cal got no love for the amazing job he did his first year.

    Even this year when his team is dominating the writers seem to not be willing to give him the props he deserves. I will never undertsand it.

  5. UKFanInCincy
  6. bluesince66

    Would have to agree Corey he has deserved it since he’s been here. I remeber when Cal was hired Scott Van Pelt did his one big thing on UK and Cal Saying this could change college basketball,with UK’s tradition and Cals recruiting, seems to be taking place.

  7. nassau65

    Corey, it’s the adverse “Kentucky effect” the media has chosen to follow and promote. I really doubt Cal is disturbed by it. With him, it’s probably just another motivator.

  8. ktmiln2

    My guess is Cal cares about this as much as the per ounce cost of Orange Leaf, not at all.

  9. ktmiln2

    5. That makes me like Stokes even more. I love when the UK-UT game is a rivalry. I thought it would be lost when Bruce Pearl left, but Cuonzo Martin has done a great job and I don’t think this rivalry is going anywhere.

  10. SouthBeachWildcat

    #3 My guess is that is all Cal is worried about as well.

  11. Reality Is

    Hard to win it anymore at a big time program that has high expectations coming into the season. If you have a great year, it’s brushed off because idiots in the media expected you to be good. If the clueless media is wrong about how good a team is and that team outperforms their initial incorrect expectations, then the coach is said to have done an amazing job. Reality is, the expectations placed on the team in the first place is generally way off base, but rather than admitting their own faulty predictions they credit the coach with doing a great job.

  12. Jenny

    Why are people so concerned with outsiders (media/other team’s fans/etc)justifying our accomplishments? I honestly could not care less about Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, All-Americans, or freakin’ SEC Scholar Athlete of the Week. Whoever wins those things will have a respectable argument for winning it. So will A LOT of people who don’t win it. The only honors no one else can lay claim to are the ones we take on the court. That’s all I care about.

  13. Al's IndiCats

    Has anyone told #2 that they got beat by a bunch of 8th grade white boys from Detroit?

  14. I'll Say it Again

    Corey, great article. One of the best that has been on this site. You made great arguments that should make any lawyer proud. BTW, GET THE WIDGET FIXED SO WE CAN LISTEN TO KSR @ 10:00!!!!


    Further proof that everyone loathes us because we’ve been stomping their lily asses for a century. Go cats!

  16. Sholler

    8-Watch your mouth! Orange Leaf is Delicious! He BETTER care about the per ounce cost!!

  17. DB11

    They get a reward and Cal get’s a huge salary at the best university in the country and gets treated like a god? Sounds like a fair trade off to me

  18. Eloy

    I see what you did; CoY is a type of fish and also stands for Coach of the Year – well done.

  19. GrumpyOldDude

    2 – Crean can’t even win the small one without a fluke bucket…..Nebraska, Minnesota, I can go on…

  20. St. Paul Raiders

    I know everyone has probably read this, but I get fired up every time I see it.

  21. Jones Returns
  22. Whoof Arted

    Lol hoo hoo cracks me up; über troll

    And every time he posts he gets multiple angered responses, good stuff.

    It’ll be even more fun to watch him do a vanishing act come April


  23. GummyBear

    18.. I believe the double entendre he was going for was “coy” also meaning playfully deceitful. As in “Don’t be coy with boys!”. I don’t see how a Japanese fish would make sense in that title.

  24. ESPN PoY Poll

    It’s real simple. Everyone needs to take 3 mins and vote for 5 players. Rank AD number one. If 3000 people do this, AD leaps to the top. How inthe hell do you think Mike Scott from Virginia is up there?

  25. barn

    not only did Cal not win national coy 2 yrs ago, but he didn’t even win SEC coy. remember? the magnificent vanderbilt coach kevin stallings won it. talk about bias

  26. Jones Returns

    Cal hasn’t even won SEC coach of the year let alone National Coach of The Year….biggest joke of all time

  27. Mack

    Stokes certainly uses “I” a lot in his statements, do you suppose Stokes will leave the rest of the UT team in at the UT campus when HE beats the CATS in Rupp.

  28. kyrobman

    Cal is making Kentucky relevant again with freshman every year. But you know that no one wants to give him credit. He is the best and Kentucky is the best, so should we be surprised. Everyone hates us. Its killing all the talking heads that we are number 1.

  29. Pharmboy

    Mike Anderson left Missouri pretty well stocked when he left for Arkansas. I’m not sure I would call them “mediocre”. They have been consistently good over the last 3 years.

  30. David

    Great post! Cal is the COY and on his way to Coach of the decade!

  31. Big Blue Greenie

    @18: I’m pretty sure 23 is correct. The fish is spelled “koi.” Regardless, I’m a bit confused about the title to this post. Can you explain that, Corey? I thought it was going to have something to do with the NCAA governing body, not just a bunch of writers talking about the CoY award.

  32. Don

    Hoosiers 2-5 last 7 games…can’t resist mediocrity. Back to being irrelevant. LOLOLOLOL

  33. Go Cats

    The funny thing is Billy Gillipse got SEC COY.

  34. Kansas City Cat

    my thoughts exactly. they want to crown self as coy with the team he has this year. hmmm, sound familiar? last year’s cats won the sec tourney and made the FF with jorts! oh and you think it’s easy to coach great talent? ask josh pastner how that’s going.

  35. help

    can fans vote for POY and COY? if so how and where?

  36. Zach

    Somebody fwd Stokes’ remarks to Willie Cauley. Let him know what he’s gonna be up against

  37. cappytone

    agree with everything except the slight knock on Cal’s in game coaching; don’t know what u’ve been watching.

  38. SteveM

    The mainstream bias against Kentucky and particularly Calipari, is so entrenched they would never acknowledge him as COY, no matter what his achievements. Mainly people just assume Calipari cheats, regardless of whether evidence of such even exists. Thus, he will never be acknowledged for anything he does here, other than by UK fans….which ultimately, is all that matters.

  39. Eloy the Destroyer

    HOO HOO if u hate UK so bad, why are u always here. You do know this is a UK site, don’t you. Iu cant win the big one or the little one for that matter.

  40. Charles

    The people that say that Cal is not much of a “game coach” are completely retarded!

    Hey HOO HOO: Your pain is delicious!

  41. GapToothDanny

    I attribute this to the “Tipton Effect”.
    The writer sets up scenarios that define the desired result, then explains why Cal or UK have failed when they have achieved those very same goals!
    shakin mah head

  42. BigBlue1976

    Here’s the thing with what #2 says, and it’s not just him, but all who say it…..that Cal can’t win the big one. OK, he’s not Dean Smith (as in he went to many FF’s without winning one). He’s only been to ONE title game. He’s young. That one title game with Memphis was his best shot so far. I’ve been telling people for 3 years now that Cal will win one and it will be with young talent. Then all the critics will bow down and discuss how he set the blueprint for how to do it with young talent.

  43. jon freeman

    good article

  44. Gil-CHRIST

    People tend to not vote for a coach with tons of All Americans, its expected to win with them. Like it or not, thats the way it is and who cares really….just want #8

    Ignore Hoo…just wants attention and u guys r giving it to him

  45. ChicagoCat

    I agree that the sentiment for COY is always “exceeding expectations” which will always handicap a Calipari Kentucky team. It really shouldn’t be that standard at least to the extent it is taken right now.

    Here’s what I see though, there are two, maybe three coaches that can win it this year. Steve Prohm, Jim Boeheim, and Cal.

    If Prohm wins out and sweeps the OVC tourney for a (relatively) high NCAA seed, he deserves the award.

    If Boeheim can manage to lose only one more game in the Big East and sweep that conference tourney, he might just deserve it.

    If Cal goes undefeated in the SEC though, its hard to argue against him. With the only loss coming on the road early in the season and an extremely hostile environment, even the biggest Cal haters would have to put him on top.

  46. bigcat76

    I looked all over but couldn’t find it, but I’m not sure he’s even won SEC CoY. Low down dirty snitches.

  47. theSkinny81

    #45 – i agree; if “exceeding expectations” was the case, Cal shoulda gotten it last year. lol

  48. catcrawler

    Not to take anything away from Haith, but he inherited a bunch of seniors and a program that Anderson built. They weren’t a “down” program either.

  49. Jiminy Cricket

    First year here, not winning CoY = Travesty

  50. BBN

    #2 I dont understand why anybody whose favorite team ISNT kentucky would get on this website and comment. Thats the like me going to a Louisville website just to comment and talk to there fans? I would never do that. You’re a douche

  51. ColoradoCat

    I hate how everyone’s biased against Cal. I completely agree with this post.