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Cal, Rick and Rupp at the top of College Basketball’s Most Hated Coaches List

rick-ref john-calipari 73_adolphrupp

LostLettermen.com put together a list of college basketball’s most hated coaches, and not surprisingly, a trio of Kentucky coaches are among them. Rick Pitino, John Calipari and Adolph Rupp make the list at #6, #5, and #3, respectively. Here’s the whole list, and what they had to say about each of UK’s current and former head guys:

1. Bobby Knight (Duh)

2. Mike Krzyzewski

3. Adolph Rupp

In his 42 years at Kentucky, Rupp became one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, and also one of the most disliked due to his nastiness. Rupp ran his teams as if he were a drill instructor, and years after playing for him, former players spoke of Rupp like an abusive father.

“He wanted everybody to hate him, and he succeeded,” UK legend Bill Spivey once said. “He called us names some of us had never heard before.” Added former Wildcat Tommy Kron, “He was a tough, gruff kind of guy who would verbally abuse his players to get them to play harder.”

The Wildcats’ dominance in the Southeastern Conference under Rupp proved, to a certain extent, that his tactics worked.

Rupp has been further demonized over the years by portrayals of racism, such as a very unflattering Sports Illustrated article by Frank Deford. While accusations of racism have been strongly challenged in the Bluegrass State, the perception remains and tarnishes his legacy in the eye of the public.

4. John Thompson

5. John Calipari

With his slicked-back hair and expensive Armani suits, John Calipari is like the Gordon Gekko of college basketball coaches. Those snake-oil-salesman mannerisms rankle a lot of people – among them Jim Calhoun, who called Calipari “Johnny Clam Chowder” for faking a Boston accent while coaching at Massachusetts.

Some fans think Calipari could be as crooked as Gekko, too. Final Four appearances at UMass and Memphis were vacated due to NCAA violations. These days, some are unwilling to believe his success at Kentucky, with rosters full of one-and-done future NBA lottery picks, is legit, and they point out he never has been personally implicated by the NCAA.

6. Rick Pitino

It’s a good thing New Yorkers have thick skin, because this sweet-talking Long Islander native has been called every name in the book over the last two decades in the NBA and college basketball.

Shameless self-promoter. Egomaniac. Whiner. Opportunist. Weasel. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No one hates Pitino more than the fans in Lexington, who watched him leave a dream job at Kentucky for the NBA, only to return to college ball four years later to coach bitter rival Louisville.

Fans like to point out that Pitino looks a lot like Al Pacino in the 1997 film The Devil’s Advocate – especially in his patented white suit. In case you haven’t seen the movie, Pacino plays Satan.

7. Bob Huggins

8. John Chaney

9. Jim Calhoun

10. Jerry Tarkanian

Check out the list with all of the descriptions over on USA Today. Haters gonna hate.

[10 Most Hated Coaches in College Basketball]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

30 Comments for Cal, Rick and Rupp at the top of College Basketball’s Most Hated Coaches List



  1. B-man
    12:35 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    No surprises here…It is generally easier for people to put down those that are at the top of their profession rather than work their butts off and try to keep up.



  2. Stadium Frame Final Four Prints
    12:37 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Hey Fan outfitters/KSR Shop – Let’s make a t-shirt with that stat…”UK most hated coaches – We don’t rebuild, we reload”….anybody out there got an extra Stoops There It Is t-shirt for sale?



  3. Rockfield, KY
    12:39 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Tarkanian should be waaaaaayyyyyy higher on that list. One of the top 2 or 3 dirtiest coaches of all time. After the whole Emery package scandal, it was being rumored that since he suspected UK of being dirty under Hall and Sutton, that he had the package mailed in order to expose UK. No one will ever know if this is true, but I can’t believe that Casey, or anyone for that matter, would be dumb enough to mail an envelope of cash to a recruit.



  4. Tom Crean
    12:49 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Why am I not on this list? Oh, it must be because I’m an irrelevant little d-bag who has never won anything of significance….



  5. Blinding flash of the obvious
    12:49 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Please refer to my name. This must be that “We hate all college basketball coaches” list except for Tom Izzo and a few other choir boys…



  6. Scott
    12:50 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like winning is a bad idea if you want to be liked. I have a sense that none of these coaches care.



  7. Ft. Knox
    12:50 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    How Calhoun isn’t top 3 is beyond me. That guy was one of the biggest dicks ever



  8. Charles
    12:52 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Glad that is settled! I love being hated as it means we are doing it right!!!!!



  9. Hotdog
    1:02 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp’s way of doing things would cause almost anybody to be classified as a bad person. The man wouldn’t have the same success today because his abuse of young men would not be tolerated. Like it or not, success in sports doesn’t mean one’s failures as a human being should be ignored.



  10. jaws2
    1:22 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    #9, I suppose you were there? I’d bet any coach that was around 40 years could find someone to dislike them. BTW, I’ve never heard a guy say that. Just that Rupp was tough. But I have heard many guys say they loved him.



  11. Mike
    1:28 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Still pissed about this past BB season?? You bet I am…after reviewing the project vs. actual Top 25 list this morning, UK was the only team that melted down and flamed out, and there is no way that should have happened with these Mickey D’s and this coaching staff. For that reason, I certainly hope that Cal doesn’t let back any of these uncoachables that were a disruption and cancer to this year’s team. Got that Alex, Ryan and, yes, even you Kyle. If they didn’t figure it out by now or didn’t want to do it this year what would leave anyone to believe they would be less cancerous and toxic next year?



  12. Roland
    1:31 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone remember what Coach Rupp thought of being “liked” as a Coach?
    “”I know I have plenty of enemies, but I’d rather be the most-hated winning coach in the country than the most-popular losing one.”



  13. bosshogg24
    1:41 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp was the Greatest coach that ever lived, a real man! Most of the stuff told on him is either false or a lie! None of these other coaches are worthy to lick the mud off Rupp’s boots!



  14. Rae
    1:42 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    11. This team was never going to meet expectations. That’s why I hope we start out next year just outside or just inside the top 10.



  15. FeLlpsssssSuX
    1:51 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    seems as thO that A-hOle “Digger” ought to be near the verrrrry tOp of this list???!!!!



  16. katzrjamers
    1:54 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    @14-I would love to see us unranked in the pre-season. That’s the missing piece for next season’s run to our 9th title. Heartfelt note from me – don’t reply to anyone calling themselves “Mike”. They are legion and most are to be ignored..join with me in asking KSR to blacklist that four letter word – his/their posts don’t bother me, I’m just tired of scrolling past them.



  17. SMH
    2:01 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Nothing to see here, folks…move a long. This is eerily similar to the list of most successful Division 1 coaches in history.
    Bobby Knight — 902 wins, 3 NC
    Mike Krzyzewski — 954 wins, 4 NC
    Adolph Rupp — 876 wins, 4 NC
    John Thompson — 596 wins, 1 NC
    John Calipari — 526 wins, 1 NC
    Rick Pitino — 629 wins, 1 NC
    Bob Huggins — 710 wins
    John Chaney — 741 wins
    Jim Calhoun — 873 wins, 3 NC
    Jerry Tarkanian — 729 wins, 1 NC

    Eddie Burke coached at Drexel for 15 years, and won 205 games, but didn’t make the most hated list. Coincidence?



  18. DerbyDemon
    2:16 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    #9–Oh learned one, pray tell the players Rupp abused.



  19. Blue4ever
    2:27 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I’m paraphrasing but I’ve heard Vernon Hatton say “When I left UK I hated Coach Rupp. But as the years have gone by I have grown to admire him and be grateful for how he brought the best out of us”.



  20. Musehobo
    2:28 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    If you want to give Rupp hell over being verbally abusive, fine. But at least have the sense to know that’s how that was done back then, meaning, a crap-ton of coaches acted that way, much how nuns used to beat the hell out of school boys when they misbehaved. Everyone did that crap back then. Yes it was wrong, but don’t act like he was the only one. Furthermore, Knight was verbally and physically abusing his boys up into the 90’s, a day in age when this was unacceptable, and still people sing his praises. And I’ve heard varying opinions about Rupp being racist. Maybe he was, again, these awful behaviors were socially accepted then (still wrong), but why crucify Rupp as the only racist coach? Because he won. None of this would be a big deal to haters if he hadn’t won.



  21. HarryLancasterStory
    2:35 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    While he (Rupp) was still coaching he liked to tell the story about a coach in the Southeastern Conference who had heard that Adolph was dead. The coach went to his athletic director to get funds to make the trip to Lexington for the funeral. “What a nice gesture,” the athletic director told him “What a nice thing to do to pay honor to Coach Rupp.” “Honor hell,” the coach shouted, “I want to go up there just to make damn sure he’s in that box.”

    Uncle Aldolph don’t care what LostLetterman writes.



  22. Dale
    3:13 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Adolf’s first name alone would get him in the top 5.



  23. Roland
    3:17 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    22, I hope your “sarcasm font” was on with that comment.



  24. Kevin C.
    3:20 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I would put Jim Boeheim on there in place of Huggy Bear. BTW, anybody here his reaction to yesterday’s news of yet another NCAA probe into Syracuse? He and Calhoun are 2 of the most smug, pompous a–holes on the planet.



  25. rockatao
    3:41 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I have no idea what went on behind the scenes with Rupp, but having seen both, I can tell you that on the sideline Rupp was a choirboy compared to Calipari in terms of player abuse



  26. ThankfulCat
    3:58 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Wichita St 60
    Pitt 45

    3 min left

    How in the world did Louisville survive in a league with Pitt?



  27. The Captain
    4:19 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Hey the list wouldn’t be complete with out digger and dean smith up near the top, aho yeah and dale brown.



  28. Big Blue Mike
    4:57 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Who the F are these people? Most hated by who? Is this their opinion? Because opinions are like assholes – everybody’s got one.



  29. Fall'06PCP
    10:33 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this a typo/error?
    “These days, some are unwilling to believe his success at Kentucky, with rosters full of one-and-done future NBA lottery picks, is legit, and they point out he never has been personally implicated by the NCAA.”
    Why would people who think his UK success isn’t legit point out that he has NEVER been personally implicated by the NCAA? Wouldn’t they want to point out that he WAS personally implicated by the NCAA?
    What moron wrote this?



  30. BatesUKfanJ
    4:23 am March 22, 2013 Permalink

    Where is Eddie Sutton or Bruce Pearl on this list? I hate them both! #bbn