Thursday, April 20, 2006
Applause to Calipari for staying
You all saw the blazing headlines in one of the biggest newspapers in the Mid-South about a week ago, heralding the news that yet another high profile coach of the area, and era, was being enticed by that end of the season “carrot” of bigger bucks and huge arenas.
This is pretty much an annual occurrence and you can recall that this column has made reference to the “coaching carousel” in all venues (well, maybe not hockey), of the sports world.
These deals just don’t happen overnight. Sometimes the cloak and dagger routine has been going on for some time before we (the general public) gets wind of it. Be mindful that there is little that any of us can do about the dealings except grumble incessantly and pledge to switch our allegiance (which never seems to happen in most cases).
This most recent high profile case involves the charismatic coach of the University of Memphis Tigers, John Calipari. When the news surfaced that Calipari, who was still being regaled for taking the Tigers to the Elite Eight, was being courted by North Carolina State University, the area was pretty much dumbfounded.
Our gripes run concurrent with who and where: Who the coach is and where is he coaching? Most of us don’t really fault these athletics leaders for trying to get the biggest package (hey, movie stars do it!); that is the way of the world today.
But what burns us is the jumping canoes in mid- stream.
Calipari has built the Tigers into a force to be reckoned with, won an NIT with them and still has plenty of juice left. We can never be too sure why Calipari chose to turn down the two mil offer from N.C. State, who had lost Herb Sendek to Arizona State (in midstream), and been spurned by Rick Barnes of Texas (as in the Longhorns) in one fell swoop, and remain in Memphis.
Maybe it dawned on him that the pyramid which he had started would not be completed if he left.
There are those of us who applaud this decision and are waiting to see how the pyramid turns out.
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