How impressive is John Calipari’s eleven-year tenure at Kentucky? ESPN’s John Gasaway ranked the 25 best coaching hires in college basketball in the past 25 years, and Calipari to Kentucky came in at No. 5.
“Prior to Kentucky in 2015, the last undefeated team to make it to the Final Four was UNLV in 1991,” Gasaway noted. “The Wildcats didn’t win the title that year, of course, but they did in 2012. They’ve reached three Final Fours under Calipari (and, perhaps even more incredibly, six Elite Eights), and UK’s recruiting classes ranked either No. 1 or 2 at ESPN.com every year from 2009 to 2018.”
It may sometimes feel like Kentucky’s momentum has slowed in the past five years, but relatively speaking, the Cats are still at the top of the heap. The four coaches ahead of Calipari on the list? Gasaway put Roy Williams to North Carolina at No. 1, Jay Wright to Villanova No. 2, Tom Izzo to Michigan State No. 3, and Bill Self to Kansas at No. 4. Keep in mind that Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim have been at their respective schools for 40-plus years, so they were not eligible.
Agree? Disagree? With another title, I would put Cal at the top of this list, but of course, that’s easier said than done. Despite all of the drama he stirred up in Louisville, Rick Pitino also made the cut. To find out where, click the link below.