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Ralph Hacker clarifies comments about John Calipari

Photo: KYWildcatsTV

Photo: KYWildcatsTV

Yesterday, Ralph Hacker ruffled some feathers on the Terry Meiners Show when he said he believes John Calipari is “shortchanging” Kentucky fans with his one-and-done approach. This morning, the former Voice of the Wildcats called into Kentucky Sports Radio to clarify those comments.

The subject originally came up when Meiners mentioned Kyle Macy’s recent comments about Calipari being too focused on the NBA. Hacker took up for his former broadcast partner, telling Meiners he doesn’t feel the program has the fans in mind anymore, comparing it to radio hosts booking a superstar slate of guests for ratings week and only average guests the rest of the time.

“Perhaps it was a bad analogy,” Hacker said on KSR this morning. “What I was saying was to this point: when you recruit one-and-dones — and maybe that’s the way it’s all gone now, is that you have to recruit those, and again, John knows more about this than I do — is that if you recruit just for just for this one season rather than look for three years, two years, four years down the road, where you’re trying to stack up national championships for the benefit of the university and the benefit of your fans, it’s like you working just for one ratings week and saying, ‘I’m going to put everything I’ve got here just for this week. Everything I’ve got is going into this week and the rest of the time I’m going to coast and see what happens.'”

When Matt asked if he was implying that Calipari is coasting, Hacker once again said he probably misspoke and is just used to the way things used to be.

“Just because he does that doesn’t make it wrong. He’s probably right. I’m just saying from Joe Blow fan who’s used to, over the years — see, I’m a lot older than you. I’m a lot older than Cal. I’m used to being able to go to University of Kentucky games and see great teams come in there and you see Kentucky play them and beat them most of the time, used to being able to know the players and take pride in those particular players — and I do take pride for the year that they’re there. I just forgot who they are after they’re not there.”

In fact, Hacker said most of his frustrations stem from the non-conference home schedule, which has gotten weaker as the program adds more neutral site games.

“Everybody has their own way of doing it. The way that John does it is fine. That’s the way John wants to do it. That’s the way the university wants to do it and John’s made a commitment to do that. What I was attempting to say was, I believe as far as a fan goes — I’m thinking as a Ralph B. Hacker as a fan, a guy who writes the checks every year and buys the basketball tickets that I’ve had since the day Rupp Arena opened — is that I feel that I’m getting shortchanged. I’m thinking as a fan that I want to see more quality teams come in there. I don’t want to — while I love Eastern Kentucky University, while I love Transylvania — I don’t want that to be the highlight of my November and December schedule.”

Hacker said he’d prefer some of the neutral site games that take place in New York or Las Vegas move closer to Lexington so fans can be within driving distance.

“My point is that we play a tough schedule. There’s no question about that. My argument is, we play that schedule is with most of the games being away from home where it costs Joe Blow fan another $2,000 to go to New York City and play. Or to go to Las Vegas and play. Or to go to Chicago and play. Some of those games, if they could be worked out, need to be played where Kentucky fans can get to those games and enjoy that as part of their regular season schedule.”

Listen to Hacker’s interview below. He comes on halfway through Hour 1:


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

52 Comments for Ralph Hacker clarifies comments about John Calipari

  1. abmorris27
    1:26 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph keeps digging a deeper hole. It’s a shame. Just enjoy the KSHOF induction and stay positive about the university. This is OBVIOUSLY a great era for UK basketball. We’re in the mix for a Final Four every year. For now, I like Fake Ralph Hacker better 😉

    • gobble gobble
      1:39 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      These old hacks just can’t seem to rap their minds around things that just aren’t difficult to understand. Talent wins… not 6’1”, 4 year guys. How can they not see what’s so obvious?

    • Wildcat-Mafia
      2:19 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      As a season ticket older for several year… Section 15 row P…. Seen some great games… Davis with block againt UNC… Wall and Cousins was fun… Towns and Crew… It takes the season to get into the team… To learn each player… to see the personalities show… I know some show from day one.. but at the end of each season now we have clue to the next year. You never hear anyone say we are going to be loaded next year… New team each year with a few supporting cast members… Cal has one Championship in 10 years… So did Tubby

      I gave up my tickets because its not worth watching the schedule Cal brings to Rupp… Buy the games you want of white hat guy and forget the rest…

      Go Cats!!!!

      Oh Yeah….Kentucky is a football School now!!! STOOPS!!!!!

    • StillBP
      2:28 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Good… Grief… Mafia… It’s ok to use a period… Sometimes…and UK will always be a… Basketball school.

    • StillBP
      2:30 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Seriously, I love how people will call us a football school when we don’t even make the playoffs but dog the basketball team when they are making it to the Elite 8 and/or Final Fours.

    • BigBertha
      4:06 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. Imma just sit in my corner and wait until October.

    • Wildcat-Mafia
      4:01 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      StillBP………. is that better……….. The football school comment is a joke………… I’m sorry your helmet kept you from understanding it……………… I’m glad you are happy with forth place and eighth place finishes. Cal said this is Kentucky… We don’t hang final four banners…. Yeah you do buddy…

    • kjd
      4:21 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      We’re the Gold standard, remember. In the hunt for final fours isn’t the goal. Championships. That’s the goal.

    • 4everUKblue
      11:52 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Tubby won with Pitino’s players and he never got another sniff of the final four after that. So rememeber that Mafia before you go comparing Tubby to Cal.

  2. Duuuuuude
    1:28 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t think it is a slam against Cal. Older fans remember having players and teams that were around longer…..the fan could bond with them more…care more. The game has changed though and it just is the way it is. Younger fans will not know what it was like to cheer on quality players for 3-4 years.

    • God Family UK
      1:53 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Another factor is better basketball to watch. In the era before the one-and-done teams were better at the start of the year. Also so much basketball today is individual play and, for the most part, the older fans remember when it seemed it was more team basketball.

    • UKFollower4Life
      2:05 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Totally agree. C’mon guys, Kyle has given UK the same amount of Championships as Cal, so agree or disagree, he deserves respect. And as far as R.Hacker talking about championships, for the fan, IT IS ABOUT CHAMPIONSHIPS. Everyone of you can say the championships years in 1 breath.

      Cawood and Ralph both called the game with the fan in mind. That’s why we loved them. Kyle was a leader on the floor and the missing link for 1978. That’s why we loved him. Cal recruits with the player in mind and has brought to UK the best of the best over 10 years. That’s why we love him.

      Neither R.H., K.M. or J. C. created the culture in which they worked in, they just responded. Just enjoy the game…

    • Basteballer
      3:29 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      This is stupid. Cal has been far more successful than any coach at UK not named Rupp. If you only measure success by championships, we’ve only had 8 successful seasons in our history. That’s literally idiotic. No other school, including dUKe, has been as consistently in the hunt (7 E8s, 4 F4s?) since Cal has been here. GTFOH

    • BigBertha
      4:04 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      How do we bond with people were never around?

    • J-Dub421
      5:34 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      If you don’t get to know current players, that’s on you. Social media makes players way more accessible now than they ever were in the past. Players constantly post videos and photos, etc. It’s easy to get to learn their personalities now.

    • BigBertha
      6:52 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yep! Preach!

  3. Bruce Dickinson
    1:33 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    If they are going to schedule a cupcake or two, why not have it be an in state school.

    • Skooms
      3:19 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Huh? When’s the last time you looked at the schedule? They DO schedule in-state schools.

    • Nugget01
      3:49 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      They schedule Louisville every year…

  4. Fly Cat
    1:34 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Joe Blow has feelings too.

  5. abmorris27
    1:34 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Times change. Every era is a little different. I’m 52, old enough to remember the Joe B and Kyle Macy days, but I’m able to appreciate our greatness in this era, too. Not sure why Ralph can’t.

  6. 4everUKblue
    1:35 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph when you learn to just stop talking?

    • Looother
      8:40 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Except that Ralph is right…

    • 4everUKblue
      10:41 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Except he’s not right and you’re still an idiot…

  7. satcheluk
    1:38 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    I wish it was possible to take Cal’s 1 and done teams and have them play the 4 year guy teams from the past. Excepting for a a couple of Pitino’s teams the beat downs would shut people up from opining about the glory days of the past.

    • Bluehender
      5:29 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t know that any of Cal’s teams could beat Robey, Phillips, Lee, Givens and Macy. Truman Claytor, Jay Shidler, Freddie Cowan, Chuck Aleksinas. 78 National Champs, you young chump. Someday you’ll be old and all you’ll want to talk about is the 2012 team. And then you’ll realize how stupid your comment was..

    • kybirdieman
      6:45 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Amen Blue! One championship in 10 years with much more talent, as these snowflakes keep reminding us. Perfect path to final four last 2 years, and along came experienced K State and Auburn to take down our heralded freshmen. Same as Duke’s super class.

    • Bluehender
      7:07 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Birdieman, don’t get me wrong..I’m a UK fan today just as I was then. I’m a Cal fan too. It’s impossible to compare generational teams, but those guys were tough seasoned veterans and for a snowflake, as you say, to dismiss teams from the past like this idiot does, is a mistake. Like he says,I wish it was possible too, to play teams from the past so he could see how wrong he is. They were tough and seasoned and played great team ball and snowflakes these days have no idea how beautiful team play could be.

  8. UKfanforlife
    1:43 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Would like to see 10 football stories and you can sprinkle in 1 bs hoops story. The UK fans deserve at least that, after you keep reporting on this tripe. Time to talk football. Kentucky football. Go Cats!

  9. JASUN74
    1:49 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph has earned the right to say and feel however he wants. It isn’t up to us to try to make him keep answering questions until he gets it like we want it to be. He feels how he feels and that’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and he’s included. I’m sure a lot of people will agree with him, ( I’m not one of those people) but Cal knows what’s up with these kids today and I wouldn’t have anybody else as Coach for the Wildcats.

    Let’s get number 9 within the next couple of years and all will be great again. Go Cats

    • gobble gobble
      2:22 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Earned? Bc he was a radio personality that no UK fan under 50 has heard of? Gtfo

    • katmandue2you
      12:58 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

      Your comment shows just how much you disrespect what makes and has made UK basketball the gold standard the Roman Empire the greatest tradition etc that it has been called and that it is. And first and foremost that is history and tradition. So shut your f-king pie hole you turkey

    • runningunnin.454
      5:10 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Macy and Hacker are entitled to their opinions, of course; but, as former representatives of the University, they should keep such opinions to themselves.
      No good can come from making such opinions public.

  10. Headhurts
    1:50 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Call the nurse, Ralph just pooped down his leg, things change Ralphie, remember when most games in the early 70’s were not on TV and if you stayed up late enough say 1:00am you watched delayed after you knew the score, things change so does recruiting, good ole days were not always good looking back.

  11. dckr
    2:10 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    He does make one good point, UK’s home out of conference schedule is a joke. To watch them play anybody good before conference you must spend $ and travel.

  12. njcat54
    3:11 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph will get his way in a couple years when all the players with draft potential go straight to the NBA. And I’m good with that. College BB did just fine without LeBron.

  13. DerBaron
    3:15 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    What a way to rain on your own parade.

  14. Bdonn
    3:19 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph also added, “And you kids stay off my lawn!”

    Sad that a guy that was the voice of and an ambassador for the program now just sounds like a grumpy old man. Times change.

  15. Wilfred Smith
    4:15 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Didn’t realize Ralph had to buy tickets when he was announcing games on the radio…

  16. CrystalBall
    4:59 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    So Ralph wants Cal to schedule Power 5 schools for pre-conference home games. What if those schools have no interest in playing in Rupp arena in December?
    Kinda difficult to schedule a school if they aren’t interested.

    • sprtphan
      5:51 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Try a neutral site that’s not in bum f–k somewhere and close enough for average fan to get to for a reasonable price.

    • runningunnin.454
      5:55 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      Cal offered IU Louisville and Indy; both would be reasonable trips; but IU said no. They want us in their dilapidated cracker box with their heathen fans.

    • CrystalBall
      10:37 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

      IU refuses to play in Rupp Arena, yet they blame UK for not scheduling games.

  17. kybigblue
    6:32 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Watching a player more than one year isn’t so bad and watching Cal’s teams advance in the NCAA isn’t so bad but is it possible to have both today? At one time freshmen didn’t even play on the varsity, the sport has changed. On the other hand one has to wonder if the home schedule couldn’t be better.

  18. ukkatzfan
    6:32 pm August 20, 2019 Permalink

    Tom Leach > Ralph Hacker

  19. katmandue2you
    12:45 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

    What I find amusing is just how not only oblivious but disrespectful younger fans are to older fans. I’ve seen it in Matt Jones himself. What you guys see as us older fans being washed up and out of touch is actually wisdom and perspective born out of experience. You young wet behind the ears boys will be older and wiser one day and you’ll have some young hotshot know it all popping off at the mouth and you’ll be completely amused by the ignorance of youth. What you don’t realize is that we lived through the history that you haven’t as well as today’s more current history. We therefore experienced both. Whereas you have only lived the more recent history but yet you want to act all know it all about a time you never experienced. The ability to comprehend that we older fans are not being old fashioned. We are being objective about UK Basketball in a way younger fans can’t cause you didn’t live through the experiences of the pre Pitino era or even the Pitino era for you really green behind the ears “boys”. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that…

  20. The Big Lebowski
    1:17 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what Hacker says now.

    He committed the Cardinal Sin of not being in lockstep and 100% agreement with John “Dear Leader” Calipari.


    The Cal worshipers cannot condone any criticism of Lord John.

    How dare anyone questions the Great Lord of Rupp Arena?


    I love Cal as Coach of UK. I absolutely hate the Cal Legion. They’re almost as bad as the BeeHive.

    Smash a Trump Supporter, Obama Supporter, Miley Cyrus douchebag and a Beyonce’ nut together and you get a Cal Legionnaire.

    • 4everUKblue
      7:24 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

      Well hell Lebowski, “Smash a Trump Supporter, Obama Supporter, Miley Cyrus douchebag and a Beyonce’ nut together” you just described yourself. LMAO!

  21. John Capilari
    4:49 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

    So, Ralph clarified that he is a curmudgeon. Will miss hanging out with him in Vegas for 4 days.

  22. albyjimc2
    9:37 am August 21, 2019 Permalink

    So all you haters ready to recruit far lesser talent and wait 10 for a championship like Villanova, then fall off again?

    12:55 pm August 22, 2019 Permalink

    Ralph, you’re waaaay too old to attempt back-peddling so quickly ; you risk falling and hitting your head.

    On second thought, go for it.