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WATCH: John Calipari gives his State of the Program Address at Big Blue Madness 2019

In what has become an annual tradition, Kentucky head coach John Calipari took the podium at Big Blue Madness 2019 on Friday night and gave his “State of the Program” address.

And as always, Calipari stole the show.

During his speech, the Kentucky head coach discussed his first ten years in Lexington and the numerous on-court accolades the program has racked up during that span.

“We’ve won a national championship … won more games than any other team … been to more Final Fours than any other program … won more NCAA Tournament games … appeared in more Elite Eights and more Sweet 16s than any other school … won five SEC regular-season championships … and six SEC Tournament titles,” Calipari said.

With elite prospects in the stands – most notably 2020 No. 2 prospect Cade Cunningham and 2021 top-three prospect Paolo Banchero – Calipari also addressed the massive financial success his former players have achieved in the NBA, adding that you can’t find that anywhere else in the country.

“38 players have been drafted from this program, including 29 first-round picks,” he said. “And we’ve graduated 20 players with four graduating in just three years. Seven others who left us early to chase their NBA dreams have returned to work on their degrees. In the last 10 years … 22 players in the NBA received max contracts, seven of the 22 are Kentucky Wildcats! Seven! That level of success is crazy. It’s a level of success only possible at one place… Kentucky.”

Check out KSR’s footage of the entire speech:

Here is the entire transcript of Calipari’s speech, via UK Athletics:

Hello Big Blue Nation!

What a night!

What a celebration of the last 10 years of Kentucky basketball and the start of the next 10 … our second tour!

Ten years ago, thousands gathered in Rupp Arena, while millions watched around the state, country and world. We celebrated the rebirth of this storied program … the greatest tradition in college basketball. We stood together under the lights, under the jerseys, under the banners that hang in this cathedral of college basketball. With one powerful voice, we proclaimed that we would achieve … as a family … seemingly unreachable heights for this program … for these players. And we did. We worked hard, together. We built trust, together. We became a family, together. We didn’t surrender to the pressure. We distinguished ourselves as we climbed atop the mountain of college basketball.

Ten years ago, we said we would be a players-first program defined by integrity and purpose. We built this program to serve our players … to help them reach their dreams. In the last 10 years … we’ve won a national championship … won more games than any other team … been to more Final Fours than any other program … won more NCAA Tournament games … appeared in more Elite Eights and more Sweet 16s than any other school … won five SEC regular-season championships … and six SEC Tournament titles. During that same time … 38 players have been drafted from this program, including 29 first-round picks. And we’ve graduated 20 players with four graduating in just three years. Seven others who left us early to chase their NBA dreams have returned to work on their degrees. In the last 10 years … 22 players in the NBA received max contracts, seven of the 22 are Kentucky Wildcats! Seven! That level of success is crazy. It’s a level of success only possible at one place… Kentucky… the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball.

My role … our staff’s role … is to serve the players. Inspire them to reach higher than they thought possible. To build exceptional men. My job is to make these guys uncomfortable. Their job is to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The discomfort and struggle will bend you, but it won’t break you … we won’t let it. It will make you a better player, a better teammate and a better person. That’s how we raise the bar. The Big Blue Nation is more than a fan base. You uplift this team, the commonwealth’s team. You’re the heartbeat of this team, Kentucky’s team.

You, the greatest fans in the world, make this the greatest stage in college basketball. The Carnegie Hall of college athletics. This is about integrity … pure intentions. We won’t embellish. Some may say their program will take care of you the rest of your life. Our mission is to prepare our young people to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives. We are upfront with them from the very start that this is going to be the hardest thing they will ever do. And we will be there every step of the way. What’s better than having an opportunity to chase your dreams on this stage? With a group of teammates who have the same aspirations and dreams. Willing to sacrifice for each other and a staff that chases your dreams with you. You will never feel alone.

When you come here, you play against the best. You have to want that challenge. You have to want to wake up every day with the desire to be stronger, faster, better. That’s why we say this is not for everybody. The greatest players make their mark here. Our best players … our best teams … are part of our great history because they learned to play together. They played as a family. They found strength in one another. Those teams were built in the trenches. Built through sweat. Built over time. Built so that under the lights we’re unbreakable. We do this together. For some that means being here for one year, for others it means more because everyone is on their own path. Some may finish at other schools but they are always welcome home. That is family. That is La Familia.

We’ve helped mold young men into NBA professionals. Professionals who have collectively earned more than $2 billion in contracts. We’ve helped young men walk across the stage with their diploma in hand. That’s a commitment we make to each player who wears Kentucky blue, a lifetime scholarship. Whether in four years or at the end of your professional career, this is your home. Forever.

I have a few questions for all of us. What will we do next? What will we do in the next 10 years? How do we grow? How do we keep getting better? What will the Big Blue Nation achieve, together, as we start this second tour?

Our potential is limitless. The competition will be fierce, the road will be difficult. We need an entire nation … a Big Blue Nation … behind us as we start a new decade and continue to showcase why Kentucky will forever be the greatest tradition in college basketball.

It’s on!

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Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

15 Comments for WATCH: John Calipari gives his State of the Program Address at Big Blue Madness 2019



  1. Blueballz
    11:56 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    Cal doesn’t think UK Basketball existed before he got here



    • Tom Bombadil
      12:17 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Douchebag BB…most things go right over that miniature brain of yours. No…i stand corrected, everything in life escapes you! Douche



    • VirginiaCat
      12:23 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Tom Bombardi: Perhaps it would be more useful to state your reasons for disagreement rather than resort to name calling, insults, and personal attacks.



    • 4evrUKBlue
      12:31 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      There is no reasoning with someone who makes an irrational comment like that, much like the comments our one sport “fan” makes on a regular basis.



    • mashman 93
      1:06 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Then you never listen when Cal speaks. He constantly says Kentucky was great before I got here and will be great after I’m gone and he says Kentucky Basketball is the greatest tradition in college basketball and that didn’t begin 10 years ago. I get that some fans get tired of the NBA talk but let’s face it when you get five star recruits(sometimes fours star) they have the NBA on their minds just the way it is. I dislike the NBA but am always happy for our guys.



    • neat1ky
      1:17 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      He refers to it all the time that it was started before he got here.I was there last and heard it. He appreciates what coaches have done before him. I think it’s been a great ride and it’s nice being in the mix every year. I hardly think anyone would trade for Gillespie, Sutton or Tubby and I liked tubby just not many years in the mix. And if NCAA were easy to win I can think of Kansas, Duke, Vegas and us that had teams that by far the best teams and that’s why sports fans love the tournament.



    • 4evrUKBlue
      1:22 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Mashman and neat1 are both right but will still be over Blueballz’ head.



  2. KATastrophe
    12:11 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

    Daggone–love it! sounds better than a “State of the Union” address. A lot better….



    • 4evrUKBlue
      12:21 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Probably because, unlike the State Of the Union, it was not full of lies.



  3. BigBertha
    2:59 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

    Cal wasn’t speaking to the fans, to be honest. Everything he said was tailored toward recruits, CC in particular. Although, it is nice to hear the success stories of our players! Go Cats!



    • CrystalBall
      5:08 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      BigBertha. He is also speaking to future recruits when he talks about the importance of NBA draft night. 5 star recruits are more interested in lottery pick contracts than winning a national title. He must tailor recruiting pitches in that direction. Some UK fans just don’t understand. Cal haters don’t want to understand. But his primary goal is to win games, including a national championship.



    • mashman 93
      9:38 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      What Crystal said ^^^^



    • 4evrUKBlue
      5:13 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      CrystalBall nailed it.



  4. Dee
    3:21 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

    A nice subtle jab at Duke…. Cal is the best coach for Kentucky….. now… go win #9



  5. ColoradoCatFan88
    3:55 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

    That was my favorite Coach Cal speech ever! Gave me goosebumps