So maybe this a question that some of you will feel has an easy answer but I actually think there is a legitimate argument for either answer. The question really boils down to what do you think makes a job hard. Is it the expectations that come from that job? Or is it the barriers that you have to overcome to reach success? Both John Calipari and Mark Stoops face significant challenges and also have significant advantages when it comes to their job. But who actually has the more difficult job? I lay out some of the positives and negatives for each man:
UK Basketball Coach
-Significantly more media and fan obligations
-Significantly more pressure from fans to win
-Higher expectations overall (potentially even unrealistic)
-Physical tolls of the job
-No real off-season
-Easier to recruit nationwide than most other college basketball programs
-Strong, Passionate, Loyal Fanbase
-Unlimited money (at least before COVID)
-Top practice facilities
UK Football Coach
-Poor home recruiting area
-Less funds than other conference teams
-Less fan expectations
-More patience from fanbase and administration
-Just making bowls are acceptable
-Great Salary for Win Expectations
I will give Mark Stoops this. He has handled the negatives of the UK football job better than any coach in my lifetime. He has dominated the rare, elite players that have come from Kentucky and then expanded the recruiting base. He has flipped several common SEC opponents into the Cats favor, such as South Carolina and Missouri. And he has fought, and won, for more funding for the program to keep coaches, etc.
But I would still argue that John Calipari has the harder job. When your entire job comes down to a potential 6 games in March and April, that is extreme pressure. Just look at how the job has aged coaches like Joe B. Hall, Tubby Smith, and Cal himself. The expectations of the fanbase are, honestly, not realistic. And yet Cal has come very close to meeting those expectations for a decade.
I think Mark Stoops certainly has a harder job to WIN at. But when all factors are considered, I would give the nod to Calipari.