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John Calipari ranked most successful new coach in the past decade


Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Megargee decided it would be fun to rank college basketball coaches’ debut seasons. Shocker: John Calipari’s at the top, for his first year at Kentucky:

When Calipari arrived at Kentucky from Memphis, the nation’s all-time winningest program was coming off season in which they had finished .500 in SEC competition and had settled for an NIT appearance. Calipari quickly transformed Kentucky into one of the nation’s most feared programs again with his recruiting prowess. Before he ever coached a game for Kentucky, Calipari had made his presence felt by signing a recruiting class that featured future lottery picks John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. That trio helped Kentucky go 35-3 overall and 14-2 in the SEC in Calipari’s first season. All the Wildcats lacked was consistent perimeter shooting, which doomed them in an NCAA East Regional final loss to West Virginia.

Also on the list: Billy Gillispie for Texas A&M’s 2004-2005 season, Bruce Pearl for his inaugural year at Tennessee (2005-2006), and Tubby Smith’s first year at Minnesota (2007-2008).

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.

14 Comments for John Calipari ranked most successful new coach in the past decade

  1. K-Jack
    1:12 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    How about Tubby’s debut season at UK? Is a national championship not impressive enough?

  2. Ko-Jack
    1:19 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’m with you K-Jack!

  3. Wildcat7
    1:43 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Well duh!

  4. eric
    1:53 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    @ 1.

    If you clicked the article, it says the past decade.

    Tubby came in 97-98.

  5. tdogg4033011
    1:54 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    1) Tubby didnt do anything, he took over a team that just came off 2 straight championship games.

  6. pji
    1:55 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Yeah, Tubby’s first season was insane. He lost Mercer, Epps, and Anderson and still won the title. That guy can coach! However, he doesn’t know how to run a program. I would take Tubby to fill in for 1-2 years all day long. His problem seems to be maintaining player intensity over a number of years. The players he inherited already knew the value of playing their butts’ off, and Tubby benefited. However, there is no way Pitino, Cal or anyone not named Izzo takes that team to the title. You see the same thing everywhere he coached. Stayed at Tulsa and Georgia for two years, and did an amazing job with other’s players. Same in Minnesota for 1-2 years, but now is wearing thin. If he could sustain the efforts of his first couple of years on the job, he would be incredible.

  7. B.J. Young
    2:03 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Bledsoe was not a Lottery pick…

  8. sgrgr
    2:04 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Bledsoe was not a lottery pick..

  9. Ira Tatum
    2:35 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    There is a comment on here on which I’m calling bullshit.

    A stupid statement that, vehemently,… pisses me off.

    Tubby Smith was THE most experienced SEC coach at the time – and the right hire. God love him as I do.

    He navigated the hurdles that were the SEC and NCAA at that time – given Pitino’s departure. Bastard, rot in hell.

    Tubby had been there. He earned the job. He performed well.

    It incenses me when pundits (morons) denigrate Tubby’s contribution to the program.

    If you don’t appreciate what he did, how can you be a fan?

    I, for one, will NOT stand for it.

    To believe otherwise – makes one appear to be an ass.

  10. catnuts
    3:02 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    9) You are right about one thing, Tubby deserved the job. He was a proven winner wherever he went and he was the one I wanted to replace Pitino. However, he was not a very good recruiter to say the least. In order to win you have to have the players. You cannot consistently beat top 10 players with players rated 70-100. Look it up, players rated in top 10 usually end up in NBA, players 70-100 usually don’t.Kind of the same principle that Hal Mummy said when he was trying to cover NFL receivers with CPA’s.

  11. Ira Tatum
    4:22 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, etc.

    I am not letting this go.

    Not sure of the review……………../delay.

    My bottom line is some one on here is… is a deek head.

    As I stated previously: IF you do not respect the job Orlando Tubby Smith did, following the the traitor’s departure….go f$%k yourself.

  12. RealityCheck
    6:58 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    Wake me up when Cal wins a title.

  13. David Baumer
    7:42 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink

    11} What? I can’t be a true fan if I don’t agree with you. I have been a real fan since I was three years old(40 yrs ago). I could be just as much of an ass as you are by saying your not a real fan by accepting mediocity.

  14. test
    9:22 pm August 21, 2011 Permalink