No.1 John Calipari – Head Coach Kentucky
In John Calipari’s own words, broadcast on SEC Network:
"“We come to your town. We beat your team and you hate us for it.”"
In the places of SEC Country where college basketball passion equals or exceeds college football passion, John Calipari incites as much, or more hatred than Nick Saban.
The Big Blue Nation and basketball are much like the Crimson Nation and football. To opposing fans, both programs are arrogant beyond excuse; obsessively passionate, beyond redemption.
John Calipari appears to thrive in the environment of disdain he elicits. On his most pugnacious day, Jim Harbaugh cannot rival Calipari’s more nuanced sense of superiority.
Calipari is the sorcerer who learned before everyone else to embrace the one-and-done culture in college basketball. He has only been at Kentucky for eight seasons. For opposing fans it feels like eighty.
His teams play with an attitude fueled by their coach. They also play very well, because John Calipari coaches very well. In those eight seasons, his teams have made the Final Four, four times. His Kentucky teams have averaged over 30 wins each season.
Perhaps the price Calipari pays for his embrace of freshmen leading his teams, is that Kentucky’s Calipari teams have only won one National Championship.
Even if we have to grit our teeth to say it, John Calipari was the best coach in the SEC this season. And that is no surprise. In case you are wondering, 247 Sports rates next season’s Wildcat recruits as No. 1 in the nation.
Kentucky is a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats open with Northern Kentucky. Check in with us on Facebook and let us know who you think are the best SEC Basketball coaches.