Calipari not planning to stay at UK over 10 years

John Calipari said being the coach of Kentucky is a 24-hour job

and one he doesn’t see doing for more than a decade.

”I’d like to live a life after I’m done coaching. I’d like to

be alive and happy,” Calipari said Friday. ”What I don’t want to

be is a bitter, just a bitter old coach. I just don’t want to be

that. … I want to be a guy that had a good run, took care of a

lot of kids, a staff that all got jobs, everybody benefited by us

coming together and my wife and I look back and say, hey, we’ve

done good, we treated people right.

”And if that’s the case, I’d be surprised if I’d be here longer

than 10 years.”

Calipari, 52, is in his third year with the currently top-ranked

Wildcats and says he had a recent conversation with former Kentucky

coach Joe B. Hall, who mentioned that a long run at Kentucky would

be 10 years. Hall retired after 13 seasons at age 57.

”This is one of those ones that’s as long as I’m having a ball

coaching that means my kids will have fun,” Calipari said. ”If

I’m not having a ball doing this, I just won’t do it and I’ll pass

it on to the next guy and say, `You’ll do great. It’s a great

thing. I’m telling you, you’ll love it.”’

Calipari spent eight years at Massachusetts and nine years at

Memphis before taking over Kentucky. He also had a 2 1/2-year run

with the New Jersey Nets before heading to Memphis. Calipari took

over Kentucky in 2009 and led the program to its 14th Final Four

last season.

”It took me 20 years to get here, so I’m not like so quick to

leave a place like this. Other guys have had these jobs for 15, 20

years. It took me 20 to get a job like this,” Calipari said. ”So,

I’m not in a hurry to leave, but it’s the same sense. When it’s

time, I think we’ll all know.”

It’s not time yet.

Calipari and the Wildcats (8-0) head to Indiana on Saturday. The

Hoosiers (8-0) have won all of their games by at least 11 points

and rallied at North Carolina State on Nov. 30 before beating

Stetson on Sunday for their best start since 2002.

The last time that coach Tom Crean had a crack at No. 1

Kentucky, it worked out well.

Crean’s Marquette team that featured Dwyane Wade bounced the

Wildcats from the 2003 NCAA tournament in the regional finals after

Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the final poll.

That win propelled Crean into the national spotlight and

eventually gave him the opportunity to take over beleaguered

Indiana in 2008 in the wake of Kelvin Sampson’s era. His first

three seasons have been rocky, but a victory over the Wildcats

could be a signature moment in the program’s return to

prominence.

”It was so much about what our mindset was going to play that

game,” Crean said of the first time he knocked off No. 1 Kentucky.

”We locked in defensively, we started to make shots and it just

snowballed. It was a fantastic win.”

Crean continues to lure talented recruiting classes back to

Bloomington, including 6-foot-11 freshman center Cody Zeller,

who’ll be tasked with slowing down Anthony Davis, the key of

Kentucky’s athletic frontcourt.

”I have played against Davis in the summer quite a bit. A lot

of them I have played against in camps, even some of the guys that

are older. All of them have improved so much since last summer,”

Zeller said. ”A lot of things have changed since I have played

them.”

That includes Calipari’s latest top-ranked freshman class that

includes Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle

Wiltjer. Sophomore Terrence Jones removed is name from the NBA

draft and returned to school this year.

Calipari has had nine players drafted in the last two seasons.

His name is regularly mentioned when NBA coaching vacancies arise,

but a remaining hole on his resume as a college coach is a national

championship. His Memphis team lost the 2008 title game, which was

later vacated due to NCAA sanctions against the school.

He’s having success at Kentucky and is being well compensated

for his efforts.

Calipari signed a contract extension in July worth $36.5 million

that runs through 2019. It pays him at least $3.8 million a year

with multiple retention bonuses and incentives. He’s won 38

straight games at Rupp Arena, the longest winning streak in the

building’s 35-year history, and 72 games over his first two years

and eight games.

But he knows at some point, he will walk away.

”There’s not many jobs where you wear the coat 24 hours a day,

seven days a week. It never leaves. This is one of them. Then it

becomes how long can you go at the pace that I go?” Calipari said.

”I’m not sure I’d be very good at like 72 years old and still

trying to do this.”