Cal has never been popular with the national media, but according to a new poll, he’s not even the best coach in the Kentuckiana area. By far.
WDRB in Louisville (home of Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich) conducted a poll of 41 writers and media members from across the nation to see who they thought was the best college basketball coach in the Kentuckiana area, and–drumroll, please–Rick Pitino won by a landslide. Here’s the final tally:
1. Rick Pitino – 25 votes
2. John Calipari – 11 votes
3. Tom Crean – 4 votes
Okay, boys, let’s justify this:
“That was a hard one,” said Jim O’Connell, the national college basketball writer for the Associated Press. “You can argue 10 different points and get different answers. But I think Pitino would get it with the main reason how his teams improve over the course of the season.”
“Pitino, by a hair over Calipari,” said Lenn Robbins of the New York Post.
“Rick Pitino is as good as any coach of any level of basketball right now,” wrote Frank Burlison, a Hall of Fame writer from Los Angeles who writes for Sports Illustrated’s web site.
“I thought you said these (questions) were easy,” wrote Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. “All three teams have great centers, and all have great coaches. But Calipari built and sustained enormous success at UMass and Memphis before coming to UK, and he’s in the sweet spot of his career now.”
“Calipari,” wrote Tom Kensler of the Denver Post. “He’s unmatched as a recruiter, motivator and team psychologist, and highly underrated as a game coach.”
“You’ve got to go with Cal,” said Mitchell Light, editor of the Athlon Sports College Basketball Yearbook. “It’s hard to argue with the results. You can’t go wrong with any of the three, but Cal is at the top of the profession right now.”
Well, at least we can all agree on Crean’s spot.