In what should come as a surprise to no one, UK head coach John Calipari says he hasn’t seen the viral video of Louisville head coach Chris Mack celebrating his team’s victory over Kentucky earlier in the season, nor does it concern him.
When asked about the video of Mack celebrating with former Louisville football star Eric Wood back on Dec. 26, Calipari said that while he appreciated the rival coach reaching out to apologize and clear the air on Sunday morning, he’s more worried about winning games and “growing” as a team.
“I appreciated (the phone call). I didn’t see any video,” Calipari said during his call-in radio show Monday evening. “Somebody said something to me, I said, “Really? I’m worried about a video? We’re trying to win games.” I’m trying to keep this team growing, get individuals to do it. So when he called me, it was short. I told him, “I’m fine.” We’re 90 miles apart, that makes it rough.
“I respect him as a coach. I appreciated that he called, but he really didn’t even have to.”
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) February 21, 2021
During a press conference previewing Louisville’s upcoming game against Notre Dame Monday afternoon, Mack said he “didn’t want (Calipari) to think it was some shot” and called the UK head coach immediately after realizing the private video originally intended for former Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne had gone public.
“The first thing I really thought of was Calipari,” Mack said. “I didn’t want him think it was some shot, that this was directed out to the worldwide web and I was trying to send a message to him, so that was the first person I called when I was aware of the video yesterday morning. I just wanted to be able to clear the air and tell him the great respect I have for him and his program and the job he’s done. And that’s how I feel. So I wanted him to know it was a joke to Kenny Payne and obviously it went sideways.”
As for his thoughts on the conversation and how Calipari received the message, Mack said the UK head coach was “gracious” and “understanding.”
“Gracious as always. He was understanding,” Mack said. “I think he understood the context. Any time I’ve ever dealt with Coach Calipari, he’s been great. He offered a few words of advice, which I’ll just keep between he and I but I was appreciative of his response.”
Not sure exchanging compliments and apologies was how we all envisioned this unfolding when the video first surfaced, but here we are.