UK BASKETBALL | John Calipari thanks those who "gave me a chance" to reach Naismith Hall of Fame

09/08/2015 05:08 PM

LEXINGTON — After all the awards and championships he’s won during his prestigious career, Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari will receive what he calls the “greatest honor” of them all on Friday when he’s enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coach Cal — along with UK legend Louie Dampier — was elected into the Hall of Fame’s 2015 class back in April and will travel to the induction ceremony this Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I’ll have a lot of people there based on my UMass days, and Memphis days, Pittsburgh friends, friends from here in Kentucky are coming up,” Calipari told media members in attendance at press conference at Memorial Coliseum on Monday. “There will be a lot of people there.”

Calipari attributed the honor of being inducted to all the players and fellow coaches who’ve supported him over the years and also thanked the schools that took a chance by hiring him.

“As a coach, it’s all based on everybody else,” Calipari said. “It’s based on the kind of staff you had. How about this? It’s based on the kind of jobs you had. You have guys that have been at the greatest jobs in the history of their whole career. Then you have other guys who have been at mid-major jobs toiling. Some started at Division II. So the job you had matters, which depends on other people offering you those jobs.

“Then the players that you coached so when you’re coaching there are just so many more people involved. You had to become an assistant coach, and someone had to give you a chance so that you could become a head coach so that you could maybe get a job like this. The journey is totally different and it’s more inclusive of more people [as a coach] than if you played.”

Click below to watch KSTV’s discussion on why Calipari’s enshrinement into the Hall of Fame is an important achievement for both Cal himself and the players and teams he’s coached.


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