My name is Kate and I’m an addict (“Hi Kate”). Not to drugs or booze, but to drama. I love me some drama. From reality shows to celebrity gossip to the desk next door, I feel compelled to read and watch other people’s fights and struggles. Perhaps it’s a consequence of my phenomenally boring life or maybe it’s a girl thing, but either way, as my husband likes to say, I’m “drama, drama, drama!”.
With Calipari facing two coaches this week alone with whom he’s had words/tweets, there’s no better time than to break down the drama that UK inherited when he was hired. Here now are the coaching feuds of Cal’s career:
Cal v. Cal
Name: Jim “UScared” Calhoun, president of the Nate Miles fan club and head basketball coach of the Uconn fighting Baltos. Apparently also a one-time game show host, gravedigger, and shampoo factory worker. I heart wikipedia.
The low-down dirty details: Calhoun apparently canceled the annual Uconn/Umass game shortly into Calipari’s tenure with the minutemen because of his disapproval of Cal’s sideline antics. So Calipari starts hounding Calhoun in the media for a renewal of the game while also winning some recruiting battles (namely Marcus Camby). Also there’s the love triangle between Cal, Cal, and Uconn women’s coach Geno Auriemma. Because what would a good feud be without a woman getting in the middle? (Wait, Geno is a guy? They allow that in women’s basketball?)
‘Oh no you didn’t’ moment: After Calipari used the media and the student section at Umass for years to goad Calhoun into renewing the series, the two schools finally agreed to play again. And on the day of the press conference to announce it? Calipari signs with the Nets. Check and Mate.
Who’s hot: After falling in June at a charity bike race, Calhoun finished the last 16 miles with five broken ribs. I’m not saying this has any relevance to the feud at all, but the old man’s got spunk.
Them’s fightin words: “Johnny Clam Chowder”- Calhoun’s nickname for Calipari, which apparently is supposed to be insulting. Come on Jim, you can do better than that.
Next known meeting: Tomorrow night, the Garden
The Battle of the Godfathers
Name: Richard “The Syphoner” Pitino, head coach of da Ville and president of the Basketball (no)baby mamma drama association.
The low-down dirty details: Straight out of Gossip Girl with this one. It’s the classic tale of BFFs turned frenemies. Similar to Calhoun, Calipari got riled up when Louisville didn’t renew their series with Memphis after bolting for the Big East and instead took a million dollar hit. Beyond that, most of the beef has to do with on-the-court antics and Pitino turning into the “amateur and unprofessional” police. Vinny Tatum is on the phone for you, Rick.
Next known meeting: January 2, 2010, Lex-Vegas
“I’ll kill you”
Name: John “the sweat machine” Chaney, former head coach of Temple with a nasty violent streak.
The low-down dirty details: I guess they had some encounters on the recruiting trail when they were both assistants and later competed against one another in some close games. Not a big deal until…
‘Oh no you didn’t’ moment: : In 1994, Chaney became upset when Calipari complained about some officiating after a Temple/Umass game. What followed can only be described as Epic Drama
Who’s hot: Though some may have predicted an episode of “Snapped” in their future, they’re friends now.
Them’s fightin words: “I’ll kill you”- John Chaney to John Calipari February 13, 1994.
Next known meeting: Unknown. Chaney’s retired and Calipari has bigger things to think about than press conference crashers.
And by bigger I mean…
Name: Brucie ” the telephone tapper” Pearl, head coach of the big orange crush with a bad case of vitamin D deficiency from standing in Mrs. Summit’s shadow for so long.
The low-down dirty details: I consider this one Calipari’s greatest performance to date. The subtle passive aggressiveness that he has shown toward UT since his time at Memphis should be written about in books and given to every woman on her wedding night. From calling Memphis “Tennessee’s team” to busting out the campus crime rate facts, this one has been all about John toying with the Pearl. And I love it.
‘Oh no you didn’t’ moment: Before a February 2008 match up, Calipari told the media that Pearl had called him up and begged him for tickets to the game. Who were they for? None other than Peyton “Jesus” Manning. Reportedly, Bruce got all riled up at Cal for ratting him out to the media. Deon Thomas on the phone for you, Bruce.
Who’s hot: Cal. Bruce hasn’t gotten a good jab in since he expressed his surprise at a Memphis player going pro, concluding it would probably be a pay cut.
Them’s fightin words: “I don’t want to deny the fans in Knoxville the opportunity to see one of the greatest coaches who ever has ever coached the game in John Calipari.”-Pearl, dripping in both sarcasm and sweat.
Next known meeting: February 13, 2010. Perfect Valentine’s Day eve game for these two love birds.
The Great Twitter War
Name: Tom “the Language Cop” Crean, head coach of a small JV squad and frequent Twitter-er
The low-down dirty details: This one’s pretty tame thus far, and actually a little pathetic on Crean’s side. In April of this year, Tom set into motion the events which would become the Twitter War of April of 2009. Crean asked his fellow Hoosiers for some help in beating Cal’s 8k or so followers. As of today, Cal has over a million. Crean just 14,000.
Them’s fightin words: “I am concerned about the tree going down because his son doesnt have a place to build his 7 room tree house.“-One of Crean’s Tweets earlier this year. Props, dude. That’s half-way funny.
Next known meeting: This Saturday in B-town.
Question: Why don’t they celebrate Christmas in Bloomington? Answer: Can’t find three wisemen and a virgin.