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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Cal’s 5 Years, Where do they Rank?

Without question, no coach in UK history has had a 5-year start to his career as good as John Calipari.  Cal and Tubby are the only 2 coaches to win a title within 5 years of being the coach, and of course some will argue Tubby’s title was helped a bit by Pitino.  Nonetheless, these 5 years have been a wild ride.  But where does it rank amongst the best 5-year stretch that each coach had at Kentucky?  Obviously Eddie Sutton and Billy Gillispie don’t qualify because they didn’t make it 5 years.

1. 1946-51 (Coach: Adolph Rupp)
Record: 159-15 (Win%: 91.4)
SEC Record: 58-2
National Championships: 3
Final Fours: 3
SEC Regular Season Championships: 5
SEC Tournament Championships: 4
NCAA Tournament Record: 10-2 (Played in NIT TWICE)

2. 1992-97 (Coach: Rick Pitino)
Record: 154-23 (Win%: 87.0)
SEC Record: 68-12
National Championships: 1
Final Fours: 3
SEC Regular Season Championships: 2
SEC Tournament Championships: 4
NCAA Tournament Record: 19-4 (Missed Tournament NEVER)

3. 2009-14 (Coach: John Calipari)
Record: 152-37 (Win%: 80.4)
SEC Record: 63-21
National Championships: 1
Final Fours: 3
SEC Regular Season Championships: 2
SEC Tournament Championships: 2
NCAA Tournament Record: 18-3 (Missed Tournament ONCE)

4. 2000-05 (Coach: Tubby Smith)
Record: 133-35 (Win%: 79.2)
SEC Record: 65-15
National Championships: 0
Final Fours: 0
SEC Regular Season Championships: 3
SEC Tournament Championships: 3
NCAA Tournament Record: 11-5 (Missed Tournament NEVER)

*Now I understand many will say that Tubby’s first 5 years should be considered better because of the national title, and I can respect that.  But Tubby had more wins and a better win percentage these 5 years.  Either way, Tubby’s best 5-year stretch would still rank 4th on this list.

5. 1974-79 (Coach: Joe B. Hall)
Record: 121-33 (Win%: 78.6)
SEC Record: 68-22
National Championships: 1
Final Fours: 2
SEC Regular Season Championships: 3
SEC Tournament Championships: 0 (tournament only held in 1979)
NCAA Tournament Record: 11-2 (Missed Tournament TWICE)

*I rank these 5 years below Tubby’s 5 because of the 2 missed tournaments.  The consistency wasn’t there for Hall.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

46 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Cal’s 5 Years, Where do they Rank?



  1. bill
    9:14 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I beleive when coach Hall was Coaching they were only taking one team from each conference



  2. asdf
    9:14 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Why isn’t Tubby’s title counted? You even mention it three times by name, but it’s not actually counted on the list.



    • Turner the Burner
      9:52 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      He is saying that Tubby’s 5 best year run didn’t include 1997-98



    • boo boo
      3:18 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Because the period is 2000-2005 and Tubby won the NCAAs in 1998.

      RIF

      Reading is Fundamental



  3. JackB
    9:16 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Coach Hall and Rupp coached in the pre-64 team era. Much harder to get in the tourney in those days. That’s why the NIT was considered more prestigious than it is now.



  4. btowncatfan
    9:16 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t know what Hall’s record was the two years he missed the tournament, but how many teams made the tournament in those years? Not sure you can hold it against him if only 32 teams made the field.



  5. John Ellis
    9:17 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Taking their whole ‘body of work’ Rupp had down years when UK didn’t make the NCAA (when only the SEC champ went) or only went because Miss. St. refused to play teams with black players, so would decline their bid. Also .500 after “Rupp’s Runts” because Riley screwed up his back the summer before in a water skiing accident.

    Tubby underrated as usual – the ’98 team had no future NBA star on it, was ranked 8th and remains the one UK title that was a complete triumph of coaching (’58 in there too). That Duke team he beat had the most NBA talent of any team in NCAA history up till then. Pitino left in part because he didn’t think that team was going to do anything. Tubby’s last two teams were overshadowed (and hence way underseeded) by Florida’s two national champion teams. Pitino would NOT have won the title in ’98, those games were exactly the kind he lost in the tournament. He won his one title with overwhelmingly superior talent, as most coaches do. He had the best team three other times and didn’t win it.



    • UKFAN197TONE
      10:58 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Man, you are wrong on several things. One, Nazr, Magloire, Padgett and Jeff Sheppard went pro, of course they all stuck around (Nazr is still in the league) much longer than Jeff.

      Second, Pitino left for Boston and Millions of dollars. I seriously doubt he left because he didn’t think they would win. Not sure where you got that idea, but I’ve never heard or read such an asinine thing.



  6. Bledsoe's Biceps
    9:18 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Hall’s NCAA tournament appearances aren’t a fair comparison. Only 25 teams were allowed in 1974 and only 32 from 1975-79.



    • Bledsoe's Biceps
      9:24 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I’ll also say that Hall’s 1976 NIT championship is noteworthy. Because the NCAA field was limited to 32 teams, winning the NIT was still a major accomplishment, at that time.



    • chief_cat
      10:07 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Hall’s 75 team was NCAA tourney runner up and many believe that team would have won the tourney had John Wooden not announce his retirement just before that title game. It would have been interesting to see how well Hall’s 76 team did had Rick Robey not gone down with a season-ending injury 12 games into the season. Instead of playing in the NCAA tourney, they went to the NIT and won that title. The 77 team lost in the Elite 8 and finished 3rd in the country and of course the 78 team won UK’s fifth title. The run Hall’s team had during the mid/late 70’s was on par with any era at UK with the exception of the late 40’s/early 50’s.



  7. btowncatfan
    9:20 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    The tournament was expanded to 32 teams in 1975 and 40 teams in 1979. 48 teams in 1980 according to Wikipedia, which of course in never wrong.



  8. jcatron
    9:24 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    4. 2000-05 (Coach: Tubby Smith)
    Record: 133-35 (Win%: 79.2)
    SEC Record: 65-15
    National Championships: 0

    FALSE!



    • Bledsoe's Biceps
      9:26 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      True. Tubby won the ‘ship in 1998 and not during the 2000-05 stretch BTI showcased.



    • jcatron
      10:03 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Why wouldnt you use the 5 years in which he won a ship?



    • Bledsoe's Biceps
      10:14 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Read BTiI’s comment right below the Tubby stats.



  9. Bledsoe's Biceps
    9:39 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    An interesting comparison, but it’s always difficult to rank teams/coaches across the decades. The NCAA tourney field was limited to 16 or 32 teams, during the entire Rupp era and much of Joe B’s tenure. If that were still true today, this year’s team would probably have not even been in the tourney. Definitely not a 16 team field and borderline for a 32 team tourney. Then Cal would have missed the tourney 2 out of the 5 years and would have 1 less Final Four.



  10. MC
    9:48 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Where is Tubbys national championship? Why the ignorance in not saying he went to a Final Four and won a national championship? I am tired of the fans who criticize Tubby Smith. As Bill Keightley told me many times, Tubby had more class than any coach ever at UK. Should we say Cal won the NC because he had Darius Miller, a Billy Gillespie recruit who had experience? No we shouldn’t. Cal coaches the team, just like Tubby did.
    When you have ignorant mistakes like NC, it makes you question if the wins and losses are correct and what the agenda of KSR is.



  11. Shaffer
    9:51 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I will argue that Cal’s 5 year stretch is the BEST of all these. I understand Rupp had 3 titles. But let’s be fair, players are much better now and there is much more talent spread out throughout the country which makes winning that much harder. Plus factor in that there was tons of continuity amongst the top players for all these stretches except for Cal’s.



  12. jeffrey
    9:51 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Rupp had 4, Tubby had 1, so you are missing two championships.



    • Rick
      9:55 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Because he is looking at titles in what he considers the best 5 year run…. Reading comprehension seems to be lacking today.



  13. somerset bill
    9:58 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    it is interesting to think of what might have been with dirk nowitzki. he has said he would have probably went to kentucky if he hadn’t went straight to the nba. that would have been tubby’s 1998-1999 season, i think. that team had turner, padgett, and heshimu evans as seniors. magloire as a junior and tayshaun as a freshman, and lost to the spartans in the game to go to the final four.

    best case scenario with one nowitzki year might have went something like this. tubby wins a second one (beating duke in the semis and uconn in the final). that gives him enough gas to last two more years than he did, which is just enough to get us to the calipari era with nary a mention of anyone named billy clyde.



  14. klassact32
    9:59 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I guess I am a confused fan. Not sure why you say Tubby never won a championship, please explain…. if your going to say because he was helped by Pitino which you reference then you need to exclude Cal’s title because quite honestly they do not win that game without Darius Miller who was not his player….



    • 9-asty
      12:19 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Read. The. Damn. Article.



    • Boogiebooger
      12:44 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      ^I wish I could “like” this comment like we can on facebook. People just comment without reading the article.



    • klassact32
      2:01 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I read the article twice! and it still does not explain my question.https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/LoginGet.doerhaps you should read my damn question!!!!!



    • boo boo
      3:25 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      RIF

      RIF

      RIF

      *READING IS FUNDAMENTAL



  15. RonnyFootball
    10:01 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Either people are idiots or they do not read before posting. Either way they make Kentucky fans look bad.



  16. Gary
    10:02 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    To make it fair you should have listed the first five years for each coach.



  17. I AM JUST DOING THIS ON PURPOSE NOW IT'S THE ONLY EXPLANATION !
    10:06 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    y’all some serious racist to leave out Tubby’s title , I know the argument about winning with someone else’s players and all, but it just isn’t right, TUBBY WON A TITLE TUBBY WON A TITLE !!!



  18. Brian the Derpface
    10:15 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    So we’re using Championships to differentiate when ranking eras, but not when selecting the eras themselves. Makes total sense! And somehow a Joe B Hall era with two final fours and a national title ranks below Tubby’s era with zero of each. Gotcha.



    • RonnyFootball
      10:19 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      In fact, that is not what the article is exploring. Reading seems to be a difficult thing for many Kentucky fans.



  19. bob
    10:18 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    John Ellis, Nazr, Magloire, Padgett. Solid, Solid, NBA players. They actually had better NBA careers than anyone on the 96 team except Antoine Walker. They all had better NBA careers than anyone on the 78 team. If you will read the preface of the article, it took into consideration the BEST 5 YEAR WINNING PERCENTAGE for each coach. Since Cal has been here 5 years that is his entire body of work here. For Rupp, Hall, Tubby and Pitino all of which were here for MORE than 5 years, they took the BEST 5 years of WINNING PERCENTAGE. Got it? NO one is bashing Tubby. Tubby’s last 3 or 4 years here were not good. He just got fired from Minnesota, come on dude he’s a good coach but GREAT coaches don’t get fired by the Golden Gophers.



  20. CatBlue in LR
    10:23 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I believe ’75-’80 would be a better five-year stretch for Joe B. ’74 was a .500 season when they missed the tournament. That was a very frustrating year. Trade that for ’80 when they went to the Sweet 16 and spent time at No. 1 during the season. Granted, that finish was also frustrating given they played the Mideast Regional in Rupp Arena and still couldn’t get it done. But that was a much better year than ’74 and would probably make for a better five-year stretch for Joe B.



    • Bledsoe's Biceps
      10:44 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Great point. Especially since BTI based his rankings solely on winning %, even though he included a lot of other stats. In my book, even with the BTI supplied stats, Joe B’s 5 year stretch is better than Tubby’s. Final Fours and Championships mean more than a fractional difference in winning %.



    • Bledsoe's Biceps
      2:46 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      After looking at this again, I realize BTI did not include the 1973-74 season for Hall’s 5 years. He included the 1974-75 through 1978-79 seasons. I still would rank Hall ahead of Tubby.



  21. UKBlue!
    10:45 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Tubby took a Mercedes and made it into a chevy. Anytime I hear anyone complaining about Calipari, I know they must be a Troll.



  22. ukbradstith
    11:19 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Can anyone on KSR comprehend anything? Like 5 people on here have posted questions that are clearly explained in the article, while another 5 or so simply can’t follow along. BTI is litterally too intelligent for this site sometimes.



    • Boogiebooger
      12:43 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      *literally



  23. LAME
    11:24 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Point less. Just Point less.

    You’re taking each Coaches BEST 5 years and ranking them against Cal’s ONLY 5 years.

    Your comparison is flat out misrepresentation, point less. Apple and Oranges. You’re not giving Cal the same benenfit of cherry picking 5 best years in a row.

    Now if you did EACH coaches FIRST five years, then that may mean something.



  24. Tooblueforyou
    11:26 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Orlando Antigua was in the movie little Nicky



  25. S. Wade
    12:19 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Rupp won a title within his first five years. The championship when he was hired (1930) was the Helms Foundation, which Rupp won in 1933. The NCAA tournament didn’t start until 1939.



  26. symphonist41169
    12:20 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    It’s also worth noting during Rupp’s 5 years the Cats won not only 3 championships but were also undefeated at home, a streak that started in 1943 & ended in 1955 at 129 games. I can’t imagine that streak will ever be equaled.



  27. MC
    3:20 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Ok. If you are honestly comparing the 5 year best runs, how wouldn’t Tubbys NC season be considered on of those years? How does it get better than that? This comparison chart is ignorant. 98-03? It was a choice by someone obviously to exclude his NC but include everyone else’s. odd.



    • boo boo
      3:31 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Do a little research and prove him wrong.

      Also…..RIF!

      I can’t believe that we’re nearly a decade away from TLT and we still have folks ALL UP ON the Tubby Jock!?!?!?!

      Perplexing.

      Tubby worshippers kill me.

      The Golden Gophers found out the truth but the UK Tubster TLT Nuthugger Association is still going strong.