John Calipari just won his first national championship at Kentucky and he doesn't plan to leave that post so quickly after reaching the pinnacle of his profession.
Less than 48 hours after the Cats cut down the nets in New Orleans to secure the program's eighth national championship, rumors and reports began surfacing that Calipari could become the next coach of the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks. One report said the 'wheels are in motion' on the coach making the jump from Lexington to the Big Apple.
Calipari took to his own website – CoachCal.com – on Wednesday afternoon to ease nervous Kentucky fans' fears about him potentially leaving.
“I just talked to Mike DeCourcy and Andy Katz and they asked me if I was going to jump to the NBA,” Calipari said in a post on the site. “What?! We just won the championship a day and a half ago. The only three things I’m trying to decide on is when I’m going to go see a few recruits, how I’m going to get through all these voicemails and when do I get a chance to get some sleep.
“But for those of you that need to hear it again, let me repeat what I told Andy and Mike: I’m not going anywhere. I have the best job in the country. Why would I leave after we’ve just won a national title? We’re trying to catch UCLA, folks. I’ve got more money than I’m ever going to need or my family can spend, so I don’t have to make a decision based on finances.”
Calipari capped an incredibly successful first three seasons at Kentucky by defeating old nemesis Bill Self and Kansas 67-59 on Monday night for the title. Calipari is 102-14 in three seasons with the Cats, having reached three Elite Eights, two Final Fours and now won a title.
“Big Blue Nation, breathe. Relax. Calm down. Enjoy the championship,” Calipari said. “Sit back and enjoy this special time. We’ve waited 14 years for this, so let’s not let anyone ruin this for us. No one’s stealing my joy or my players’ joy. Don’t let them steal yours.”
Calipari did say he would continue to attend NBA games in the future but that should not be construed as him seeking a possible return to the league where he was once fired after going 72-112 with one playoff appearance in parts of three seasons with the New Jersey Nets.
“I’m not going to give up my lifestyle based on a few rumors, and I will continue to go to NBA games to see my family, friends and former players,” Calipari said.