Even though they didn’t work at Kentucky at the same time, John Calipari and C.M. Newton’s paths have crossed several times during their careers, to the point Cal considers him a dear friend. This morning, Cal called upon fans to pray for Newton, whose health is declining. The 88-year-old was Kentucky’s athletic director from 1989-2000, and also served as head basketball coach at Transylvania, Alabama, and Vanderbilt.
Cal described his friendship with Newton in a post on CoachCal.com.
“C.M. has always treated me as a part of his family. After a I became the coach at Kentucky, he always made a point to call me or spend time with me when we were in Alabama. He has always been willing to share advice and give me good counsel. His son, Martin, who I consider a dear friend was at the center of me being hired at Kentucky. I would imagine C.M. was in the background somewhere. He is one of the people I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to for helping me prepare for and achieve my dream job here at Kentucky.”
I was privy to a special moment between Cal and Newton after the Kentucky vs. Alabama game in Tuscaloosa a few years back. Newton, who lives in Alabama now, snuck into Cal’s postgame presser, prompting Cal to wrap up his remarks and come give him a big hug.
“It was very meaningful,” Newton told me. “It was a great moment. Cal is very special.”
For more on Cal’s relationship with Newton, read his post at the link below.