UK BASEKTBALL | Memphis to honor John Calipari, Tiger fans not happy

09/10/2015 04:13 PM

*** UPDATE ***

In response to the feverish backlash from Memphis fans, president M. David Rudd announced Thursday night the university will no longer be honoring former coach John Calipari this season:


MEMPHIS, TN – John Calipari will enter the Naismith Hall of Fame tomorrow along with Kentucky basketball legend Louie Dampier, but one fan base won’t be celebrating their former coach’s accomplishment.

University of Memphis president M. David Rudd announced on Twitter on Wednesday the school has planned a two-day event December 28-29 to honor Calipari who coached the Tigers for nine years before leaving for Kentucky in 2009:

Despite leading Memphis to the national title game in 2008, Tiger fans are apparently still VERY bitter that Cal left them for greener pastures in Lexington, and they flooded President Rudd’s Twitter account with complaints:

Sour grapes, much?

In the Memphis fans’ defense, all the wins leading up to Memphis’ 2008 national title game run were later vacated by the NCAA after the Tigers were accused of using an ineligible player during the season.

Though the NCAA never identified the ineligible player by name, it was clear it had to be star point guard Derrick Rose since he was the only player on the team who played at Memphis for just one season — a detail noted in the NCAA’s decision.

The NCAA accused the ineligible player of having another person take his SAT exam in Detroit after he failed the ACT three times in Chicago (Rose’s hometown) to be eligible to play at Memphis as a freshman, and Tiger fans blame Calipari, not Rose, for the mistake.

To his credit, President Rudd did respond to his dissenters:

UMass also announced earlier this year — without the backlash — that it too will honor Calipari with a jersey retirement ceremony sometime during the upcoming 2015-16 season.

Calipari coached the Minutemen from 1988-1996, leading UMass to the Final Four in 1996 before that season too was later vacated due to NCAA violations.


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