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Calipari addresses UCLA rumor, plans to retire at Kentucky

BBN, you can exhale. John Calipari isn’t going anywhere.

On Wednesday afternoon, rumors began circulating Coach Calipari showed “serious interest” in leaving UK to accept the UCLA head coaching job. Wednesday night, Calipari took to Twitter to respond to the speculation. He wrote:

“Before I go to bed, let me just say this: I’m coaching at the [University] of Kentucky. In my opinion, there is no better job in the world to coach basketball. My plan and my desire is to retire at Kentucky. I think the university feels the same as I do and we’ve talked openly about it.”

Whew. Rick Pitino, the Bruins’ job is all yours. In the mean time, the BBN should take Coach Cal’s advice:


@MaggieDavisKSR


via ACUSports.com

KNOW YOUR OPPONENT: Abilene Christian University

via ACU.edu

The wait is finally over, as we now know No. 2 Kentucky will face No. 15 Abilene Christian University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. We’ll have plenty of pre-tournament coverage over the next few days, and we have plenty of time to analyze every possible future matchup before the real action even begins: the Cats won’t play until Thursday evening (check out the full list of TV times here). Of course, we’ll start with Kentucky’s first round – let’s get to know Abilene Christian University.

The Basics

Abilene Christian University is located in Abilene, Texas – the 27th most-populous city in the state – and was founded in 1906. Their colors are purple and white and their mascot, like Kentucky’s, is the Wildcat. The main difference? ACU’s mascot is nicknamed Willie.

It’s a private college affiliated with the Churches of Christ. ACU is one of the few remaining colleges that requires daily chapel time for students: for 30 minutes each day, every full-time undergraduate student takes some time away from classes and meetings to gather for “praise and worship.” During this time, students also hear from guest speakers and are able to make campus-wide announcements. The school currently has around 4,500 total students.

Famous Alumni

Despite its relatively-small size, ACU has produced a handful of very successful alumni, including:

Ronnie Dunn – An American country music singer-songwriter and record executive. He’s best known, of course, for being half of legendary country duo Brooks & Dunn. The Boot Scootin’ Boogie boys became the best-selling duo in country music history, thanks to 30 million albums sold and more than 80 industry awards earned. Dunn studied Psychology at ACU; unfortunately, the school didn’t like that he was performing in bars, so Dunn left the University to pursue music. I think it worked out for him.

John Layfield – A retired professional wrestler and current color commentator in the WWE. He works as part of the broadcast team on Raw, Main Event and Pay-Per-View events under his wrestler name John “Bradshaw” Layfield, or JBL. He brought home one WWE Championship during his prime, but he was also an All-American football player during his time at ACU.

Bonnie Curtis – Maybe not the most recognizable name on this list, but definitely a successful one. Curtis is a film producer whose credits include Saving Private Ryan, A.I., Minority Report and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In 1998, she graduated from ACU with a journalism degree; in 2005, she was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

Randall Cobb – Nope, not that one. But a former professional boxer named Randall Cobb did briefly attend ACU.

The Basketball

via ACUSports.com

Ah, what we’re here for – the game itself.

Abilene Christian competes in the Southland Conference, alongside teams including the New Orleans Privateers, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.

This year’s tournament will be ACU’s first NCAA appearance in school history, but it’s only their second chance at the big dance. The Wildcats recently transitioned from Division II to Division I, which came with a four-year probationary period that made them ineligible for NCAA postseason play. They were eligible for the first time last year but did not qualify.

Regardless, their come-up over the past several years has been notable. Six years ago, ACU finished 2-12 in their conference; this season, the Wildcats won the Southland Conference Title as a No. 2 seed. They finished with a 14-4 conference record and a 25-6 overall record.

Three of the team’s players made the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team: forward Jaren Lewis, guard Jaylen Franklin and guard Payten Ricks. Their successful end to the season didn’t come without some adversity: two of the Wildcats’ starters were dismissed from the team in late February. Jalone Friday and B.J. Maxwell were dismissed for “violating university policies and behavior inconsistent with the values of the university,” according to a press release from the school.

The Wildcats are led by head coach Joe Golding, who was recently named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year. Golding, who played for ACU from 1994-98, led his alma mater to their first 20-win season since jumping to the Division I level this season, and the team’s 25 victories are the most regular season wins in program history.


The Battle of the Wildcats is set to tip-off Thursday at 7:10 on CBS.

@MaggieDavisKSR