Did You Know John Calipari’s Name Has Been Floated for the Texas Job?
Last weekend, the Texas Longhorns' basketball team took its 3-seed into a game against 14-seed Abilene Christian.
When the final buzzer sounded, they took very long faces into the locker room after suffering a stunning opening round loss--one that VERY few predicted would happen, EVEN in a tournament where highly unlikely upsets have occured, right and left.
That top three seed was a high water mark for Texas coach Shaka Smart, who'd been in Austin for six years, made three NCAA Tournament appearances (this one included), but had never won a game in the Big Dance (again...this year included).
The distress on his face at the end of that game when he realized his team was once again going to go 0-fer in the NCAAs was pretty telling. A few days later, he resigned and took the job at Marquette.
All of a sudden, one of the most lucrative jobs in college basketball was open. The Texas athletic department has seemingly bottomless pits of money to throw around and now, they don't even have buy out a contract. So they're keeping more in the till than a school would if it fired a coach before his/her contract expired.
As one might expect from the flagship university in the Lone Star State, there's a LOT of money attached to the University of Texas. And I reiterate that because it would take a LOT of money to get John Calipari to come to Austin and be the new Longhorns coach.
Yep, the UK head coach's name was floated as a possible replacement for Smart. And while that seems asinine, considering Calipari has turned down one NBA(!) job after another to stay at Kentucky, look just a tad bit closer.
No, I'm not implying he'll take it. I have no idea, but it doesn't seem likely.
With Kentucky coming off its worst season in a century and Calipari coming off his worst season as a head coach, one wonders whether those two facts, coupled with the UK fan base's growing distaste for the "one and done" culture (and "growing" is most likely an understatement), would be enough for the Hall of Famer to throw up his hands and say, "You know what, yeah, I've run my course here."
In a piece at HookEmHeadlines.com, an online Texas Longhorns news source, Andrew Miller writes about the possibility and includes tweets on the subject from college hoops analysts.
Calipari is the Warren Buffett of college basketball coaches. Few universities could match what Kentucky is paying him. Texas is one of them.
But I don't think he goes anywhere. Kentucky just brought in veteran shooting guard Kellan Grady, a transfer from Davidson who averages just over 17 points a game, 4.6 rebounds, and is just a tad better than 38% from three-point range.
Plus, Texas is, and always will be, a football-first school. Yes, the administration and the athletic department want great things to happen on the hardwood, but football rules the roost in the eyes of the Longhorn fanbase. And I'm not sure Calipari would want to coach at a school where basketball isn't top dog.
I think he'll let those rumors keep flying until Texas hires a coach NOT named John Calipari and then we can all get back to business.
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