You’re probably going to hear a lot about Bob Huggins’ 8-2 record against John Calipari this week, but I’ve got a more interesting take on the friendship between the two. This story came out when Kentucky and West Virginia faced off in 2010, but it bears repeating. When Huggins had a heart attack in 2002, it was John Calipari’s cousin that helped keep him alive in the ambulance. From Brett McMurphy’s New York Times article:
“They’re pumping morphine in me,” Huggins said. “I kind of came to and I said, ‘What’s the E.T.A.’ And he said ’22 minutes.’ I said, ‘Man, I’m not going to make 22 minutes.’ You know how they tap you on the leg and say ‘I haven’t lost a patient.’ I said ‘Get ready, get ready to. I’m not some old lady, man. I know what is going on. I don’t have 22 minutes.’
“And so he got on and said ‘Abort, abort, abort.’ They went to a closer hospital. The guy in the back of the ambulance tapped me on the leg and he said ‘Coach, don’t worry, I’m Coach Calipari’s cousin, I’m not going to let you die until Cal beats you at least once.'”
Kentucky Coach John Calipari tells a different version.
“When they got him and they put him on the ambulance, my cousin said ‘Coach Huggins, you’re going to be all right, I’m Coach Calipari’s cousin,’ Calipari said.’And he went ‘Oh my goodness, I’m not going to make it.‘”
I’d much rather hear more about this than the tired 8-2 storyline this week. At the Final Four, Bo Ryan and Cal did their press conferences together…can we somehow get Huggins and Cal to do theirs together on Wednesday?