While neither will admit that they hate each other, there’s no denying that John Calipari and Rick Pitino have a tense relationship, going as far back as Cal’s days at UMass. Since Cal took the job in Lexington, that relationship has become even more taut, with the two trading barbs, quips, and the occasional compliment. Here’s a quick roundup of their history since Cal became UK’s coach:
October 3, 2011: During an interview with Matt on KSTV, Cal mentions that “other states have other programs,” but that “it’s Kentucky throughout the whole state.” Three days later, Pitino responds by saying “I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant and I ignore the paranoid.”
September 14, 2012: During a reunion with the 1996 National Championship team, Calipari left the room when the group started telling stories about Pitino, joking that “I just said, ‘I’m leaving the room. I’m out of here because they’ll say I said it.'”
December 29, 2012: After Louisville beat Kentucky at the Yum Center, Rick Pitino had nothing but nice things to say about the Cats and Cal, whom he said is the best at teaching young talent.
“It’s a real important game for the fans. We want to beat Kentucky very bad, but it’s not as important to us as the fans,” Rick said. “We have great respect for them. There’s no bitterness. We don’t denigrate Kentucky.”
March 11, 2013: In an interview with USA Today’s Eric Prisbell, Pitino and Cal traded barbs about the one-and-done rule, with Pitino arguing that it’s impossible to form relationships with players you only coach for seven or eight months. Cal vehemently denied that notion, saying that he’s very close to all the players he’s coached, suggesting that “if you can’t get those kids, that’s the kind of comment you make.”
April 29, 2013: At the request of a fan, Calipari and Pitino take a picture together at Drake’s. The two were dining separately in adjoining restaurants, where Cal had a bone-in filet and calamari, while Pitino had calamari salad, a cup of broccoli cheddar soup, and the Lexingtonian Salad.
May 16, 2013: Calipari came on KSR to discuss the upcoming season, and couldn’t help but mention Louisville’s recent NCAA Championship, saying of the Cards:
“The good news for us in this program is we won it first.” [Big laughter]
December 21, 2013: When asked if he has raised the level of competition between UK and UofL, Cal says it’s the other way around and that Pitino’s recent success has challenged him and his team to reach the next level.
“No, I don’t coach at that school. Rick Pitino won a national title here. He took Providence to a Final Four. I think he’s qualified enough to do that. He’s a Hall-of-Fame coach. What he was doing at Louisville inspired us and me here. We’d better work. We’d better get after this.”
December 28, 2013: ??