John Calipari

 

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A “players-first” coach with a penchant for helping people reach their dreams, John Calipari, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, has guided six teams to the Final Four, led one to a national championship and helped 54 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his 29-year college coaching career.

From UMass to Memphis and now Kentucky, Calipari’s career has been successful throughout, but his most recent run in Lexington has been the best stretch of his career.

During Calipari’s 12 seasons at UK, he leads all coaches in NCAA Tournament wins (31), Final Fours (four), Elite Eights (seven) and Sweet 16s (eight). 

In advancing to the 2015 Final Four, Coach Cal became one of just three coaches all-time to make four Final Fours in a five-year span, joining Mike Krzyzewski and John Wooden as the other coaches to achieve that feat. Twice at UK (in 2012 and in 2015) his teams have won 38 games, tying his 2008 Memphis team for the most wins in college basketball history.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, Calipari became the 96th coach to join the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, considered one of the ultimate achievements in the game.
 

John Calipari - photo by Walter Cornett
John Calipari – photo by Walter Cornett

Kentucky: The Gold Standard

Calipari reached the mountaintop in his third year in Lexington, guiding Kentucky to its eighth national championship and his first national title. He is one of only two coaches (Rick Pitino) to lead three different schools to a Final Four (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2014, 2015).

The Wildcats rode Calipari’s trademark of hard-nosed defense to the 2012 title, finishing the season as the nation’s top-ranked team in field-goal percentage defense and blocked shots.

Kentucky lost three members of its 2011 Final Four team (two to the draft, one to graduation), but Calipari reloaded with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for the third straight season. Included in the class were eventual National Player of the Year Anthony Davis and All-American Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

En route to the national championship, Calipari guided the Wildcats to an NCAA record-tying 38 wins, a perfect 16-0 mark in the Southeastern Conference, all while extending his winning streak in Rupp Arena to 51 straight games. Calipari later extended his perfect mark at home as UK’s coach to 54 games before finally losing in his fourth year at Kentucky.

The 2012 team was tabbed the College Basketball Team of the Decade by the Associated Press.

Upon being named head coach on April 1, 2009, Calipari continued to work his magic of resurrecting once proud programs, taking an team in 2009 to the 2010 NCAA Elite Eight. Along the way he led the Wildcats to a No. 1 ranking (UK’s first since 2003), and an SEC regular-season and tournament championship.

The honors continued after the 2009-10 season as Calipari became the first coach in UK history to receive the Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year award. He then watched as five of his players were selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, the first time a school has ever produced five first-round picks in a single draft. Among those picks was the first Wildcat ever taken as the No. 1 overall pick, John Wall.

In his inaugural season as head coach of the Wildcats, Calipari posted his fifth straight 30-win season, the only coach in NCAA Division I history to do so. In addition to the Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year award, Calipari was also named the Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year.

When he led Kentucky back to the No. 1 spot in the country, Calipari became one of only two coaches (Frank McGuire) in NCAA history to lead three different programs to a No. 1 ranking. He led UMass to a No. 1 ranking in 1995 and 1996, and he led Memphis to the No. 1 spot during the 2008 season.

John Calipari - photo by Walter Cornett
John Calipari – photo by Walter Cornett

In his second year in 2010-11, a season that was labeled as a “rebuilding effort,” one in which Calipari and the Cats were supposed to struggle after losing an unprecedented five first-round picks in the 2010 NBA Draft, Kentucky reloaded as Calipari guided UK to another SEC Tournament championship and collected his 500th career on-court win.

Coaching the youngest team in the nation in 2013-14, Calipari guided Kentucky back to the Final Four for the third time in four seasons, coming up just one win short of his second national championship.

Calipari and the Cats reached the championship game in what some national pundits called one of the greatest NCAA Tournament runs of all-time. Seeded No. 8 in a region analysts dubbed “the region of doom,” UK knocked off previously undefeated and top-seeded Wichita State, downed defending national champion and archrival Louisville, and defeated defending national runner-up and Big 10 champion Michigan before edging Wisconsin in the Final Four. UK became the first team ever to knock off three of the previous season’s Final Four teams, and the Cats did so starting five freshmen and coming off an appearance in the the season before.

The core of that 2014 Final Four team returned to Lexington for the 2014-15 season and joined one of the nation’s top-ranked recruiting classes, putting Calipari in an unprecedented coaching position. With a roster full of players capable of starting at just about any other school, Coach Cal motivated his team to share and sacrifice minutes for one another with a two-platoon system and inspired a collection of future pros to play for one another.

The result was a season unlike anything college basketball had ever seen before. Behind one of the game’s best defensive units ever, the Wildcats became the first team in NCAA history to post a 38-0 record. Among UK’s most notable achievements in 2014-15 were the longest winning streak in program history, the best start ever by an SEC team, and SEC regular-season and tournament titles. 

Though he deferred all the credit to his players for allowing the season to happen, Calipari raked in a handful of national coach of the year awards nonetheless, including honors from the AP (his first), Naismith (his third, becoming the first coach to win it at multiple programs), National Association of Basketball Coaches (his third), Sporting News and the Adolph Rupp Award (his second).

Since then, Kentucky has continued its SEC dominance and NCAA success under Calipari. 

In 2015-16, Calipari replaced his top seven scorers, who went on to the NBA, and still led the Wildcats to their 47th regular-season SEC title and their 29th SEC Tournament crown. Tyler Ulis was tabbed an NCAA Consensus First Team All-American, becoming the shortest player to earn the distinction since 1958. He was also named the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year, the first such honor in program history. 

Meanwhile, Calipari captured his 200th career win at Kentucky in his 240th game, becoming the second-fastest Division I men’s basketball coach to reach 200 victories at a single school. He’s currently the only coach in NCAA history with at least 189 victories at three different schools. 

The 2016-17 team dominated the SEC en route to winning both the league regular-season and tournament titles for the third straight year. Malik Monk was named an NCAA Consensus Second Team All-American, and broke the Kentucky freshman scoring record as well as the UK freshman single-game scoring record. He also took home the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year honor. The Cats fought through a tough NCAA Tournament draw and advanced to the Elite Eight for the sixth time in eight years under Calipari’s leadership. 

In 2017-18, with the most inexperienced team in the history of college basketball, Calipari’s Cats grew up and came together at the end of the season to win the program’s fourth straight SEC Tournament championship and advance to the Sweet 16. During the season, Calipari became the fourth-fastest coach to earn 700-on court wins.

UK made its seventh trip to the Elite Eight in 10 seasons in 2018-19 while Calipari moved into second place on the UK career wins list. Kentucky notched seven wins over Associated Press Top 25 opponents and PJ Washington earned NCAA Consensus All-America Third Team honors.    

The Wildcats returned to the top of the SEC in 2019-20 with Kentucky’s sixth regular-season conference crown in 11 seasons under Calipari. With Immanuel Quickley evolving from a reserve to the SEC Player of the Year and Nick Richards developing into one of the best big men in the country, UK won 17 of 20 games down the stretch and looked like one of the teams to beat nationally heading into the postseason. Unfortunately the postseason (both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments) was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but not before UK posted a 25-6 record and Calipari won SEC Coach of the Year honors — as awarded by the league’s coaches — his 10th conference coach of the year honor in 28 seasons. 

During Calipari’s 11 seasons at UK, Kentucky owns more NCAA Tournament wins (31), Final Four appearances (four), Elite Eight berths (seven) and Sweet 16 showings (eight) than any other school. He’s won six SEC Tournament titles (and appeared in eight of 10 possible title games) and won six SEC regular-season championships.At the end of the 2010s, Calipari was named College Basketball Coach of the Decade by Sporting News for his work at Kentucky.

NBA Draft: Dream Fulfiller

John Calipari - photo by Walter Cornett
John Calipari – photo by Walter Cornett

As someone who prides himself on helping young men reach their dreams, he has helped 54 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his college coaching career, including 38 over his first 10 seasons at Kentucky. The 38 picks over that 10-season span is 14 more than the next closest school (Duke).

In 2010, five of his UK players were selected in the first round for the first time in NBA history. He followed that up with four players in the draft in 2011, six players in 2012 — the most in a two-round draft — two in 2013, two in 2014, another six in 2015, three in 2016, three in 2017, four in 2018 and three in 2019. The 2015 haul included four lottery picks, tying the most in NBA history. In five of his drafts at Kentucky he’s had at least three first-round selections.

Overall, he’s churned out 38 NBA draft picks, 29 first-rounders, three No. 1 overall selections, 13 top-10 picks and 21 lottery selections at Kentucky. Since the 2008 draft, 43 of Coach Cal’s players have been taken in the NBA Draft, including 31 first-rounders. Calipari has produced a top-10 pick in 11 straight drafts prior to 2019, a feat no other coach has ever accomplished.

Included in Calipari’s NBA success are four No. 1 overall picks (Derrick Rose, Karl-Anthony Towns, Wall and Davis). No other coach has had more than three No. 1 picks, and 2012 was the first time two players from the same team (Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist) were taken with the first two selections in the draft.

Another way to look at Calipari’s phenomenal ability to put players in the NBA: 38 of the 60 players who finished their college careers at Kentucky under Calipari were selected in the NBA Draft, a staggering 63.3% success rate. Of the 27 players at UK who declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman season, 25 were first-round picks — 29 of 31 if you include his Memphis players — and all 27 from Kentucky have appeared in an NBA game. 

Calipari’s players have entered the league NBA-ready. His players have garnered 23 All-Star selections, with Davis winning the game’s MVP honor in 2017. Rose was named MVP in 2011. Five of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Rose, Wall, Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Towns), three have been named NBA Rookie of the Year (Rose, Tyreke Evans and Towns), and 12 players from Calipari’s first nine teams at Kentucky made the NBA All-Rookie teams.

The Success Rate

Much like he did at UMass, when his players graduated at nearly 80%, Calipari has stressed academics. Fifteen of his final 18 seniors who came through the Memphis program earned their bachelor’s degrees, and all 20 players at UK who were eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years have graduated, including four players (Patrick Patterson, Jarrod Polson, Alex Poythress and Brad Calipari) who earned their degree in just three years. 

Calipari’s teams routinely post grade-point averages of 3.0 or better, including a 3.763 team GPA during the 2020 spring semester. In the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation, UK routinely finishes at or near the top of the country. In 2020, Kentucky earned an NCAA award for a fifth straight season and sixth overall under Calipari for ranking in the top 10% in the nation in the APR for men’s basketball. Prior to the 2018-19 marks, UK had posted a perfect four-year composite Academic Progress Rate score of 1,000 for four consecutive seasons and six consecutive one-year scores of 1,000. Going back to 2007-08, the first year of the APR, all of Calipari’s teams have far surpassed the Division I average APR score.

Poythress was tabbed a CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team member in 2016, becoming the program’s first academic honoree since 1995. Meanwhile, Calipari’s players have earned 59 All-SEC Academic Team honors during his tenure at UK.

Hall of Famer

PERSONAL
Birth DateFeb. 10, 1959
Place of BirthSewickley, Pa.
WifeEllen
ChildrenErin Sue, Megan Rae, Bradley Vincent
Date Hired at UKMarch 31, 2009
EDUCATION
High SchoolMoon Area High School, 1978
CollegeClarion State, 1982 (now Clarion)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing
  • Starting point guard for Clarion State Eagles
  • Attended and played basketball at UNC-Wilmington (78-80)
COACHING CAREER
KansasAssistant Coach, 1983-85
PittsburghAssistant Coach, 1986-88
MassachusettsHead Coach, 1989-96
New Jersey Nets (NBA)Head Coach, 1997-99
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)Assistant Coach, 2000
MemphisHead Coach, 2001-09
KentuckyHead Coach, 2010-pres.
 

After bringing the University of Massachusetts basketball program to national prominence in the ‘90s and resurrecting the Memphis basketball program in the 2000s, Calipari became the 22nd coach in UK history and seventh in the last 80 years.

Calipari is one of only two coaches (Roy Williams) in NCAA Division I history to have 400 or more wins in his first 16 years as a head coach, and his 173 victories from 2008-12 are the most ever for a coach over a five-year span in Division I history. Since the 2005-06 season, he has the best winning percentage among all Division I coaches. On the NCAA Division I list for best on-court winning percentage (minimum 10 years), Calipari entered the 2018-19 season in ninth place and ahead of Krzyzewski, Bill Self, Jim Boeheim, Bob Huggins, Lute Olson, Dean Smith and Phog Allen.

His 11 30-win on-court seasons are third most for a head coach in NCAA Division I history, and he is the first coach in NCAA Division I history to record five straight on-court 30-win seasons. For his college career (28 years), Calipari has 26 on-court seasons of 20 or more on-court wins and 19 different seasons of 25 on-court campaigns. His 26 consecutive on-court 20-win seasons is the second-longest streak in NCAA history, trailing only Smith, who had 27.

When UK won the 2017 SEC regular-season title, Calipari became the first NCAA Division I coach to lead three different programs (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky) to five on-court regular-season league titles five different times.  

International Success

Calipari got a taste of international basketball when he accepted the head coaching position of the Dominican Republic National Team in 2011. His impact on the country was immediate and unprecedented. 

In his first year with the team, Coach Cal led the Dominican Republic to a bronze-medal finish at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina, defeating archrival Puerto Rico and world power Brazil along the way. The Dominicans came within one win in the semifinal round of qualifying for the country’s first-ever appearance in the Olympics. The third-place finish secured a spot at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament as one of 12 teams vying for three open spots to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. There, again, the Dominicans came within one win of making history and qualifying for the Olympics.

Calipari also led the Dominican Republic to a gold medal at the 2012 Centrobasket. It was the first Centrobasket title in eight years for the Dominican Republic and just the third in the country’s history.

In 2017, Coach Cal was named the head coach of the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team, which finished third at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo.
 

UMass: The Beginning

Coach Cal started his head-coaching career at UMass in 1988-89, guiding a struggling program to the top of college basketball, capped off by a Final Four appearance in 1996.

At 29, when he was named head coach, Calipari began building a program from the ground up, going 10-18 his first season before posting a 17-14 record his second year (receiving a bid to the NIT). The Minutemen won their first Atlantic 10 championship in 1992 with a 30-5 record, including a 13-3 mark in league play. With a 77-71 overtime win over Syracuse in an East Regional second-round game, UMass made its first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
From there, the program skyrocketed under Coach Cal.

Calipari compiled a 193-71 on-court record (.731) during his eight-year career at Massachusetts, including a 108-44 mark (.684) in A-10 play. In addition to five straight NCAA Tournaments and a Final Four appearance in 1996, UMass also made two appearances in the NIT, advancing to the semifinals in 1991. The 1990-91 season was the first of six straight seasons in which the Minutemen won at least 20 games.

In his final season at UMass, Calipari was named the 1996 Naismith National Coach of the Year and The Sporting News National Coach of the Year. He was also named the A-10 Coach of the Year for the third time in four years, as well as the Basketball Times East Region Coach of the Year.

During the Minutemen’s 35-2 Final Four season in 1995-96, UMass posted wins over Kentucky, Maryland, Wake Forest, Tech, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Louisville. UMass ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final regular-season poll after being the top-ranked team for nine weeks earlier in the year. The Minutemen also won their first 26 games of the season, setting a school record for most consecutive wins.

In addition to his Naismith National Coach of the Year honors in 1996, Calipari was a Naismith Coach of the Year finalist in 1994 and 1995. He was the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association District I Coach of the Year in 1993.

Calipari left UMass in June of 1996 to become executive vice president of basketball operations and head coach of the New Jersey Nets. He led the Nets to a second-place finish in the NBA’s Atlantic Division and the playoffs in 1998, ending a five-year postseason drought for the franchise. The Nets’ 17-game turnaround from the previous year was the best that season in the NBA.

He became a member of the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff in 1999, rejoining head coach Larry Brown, for whom Calipari was an assistant at Kansas.

He’s Back

Calipari returned to the college game in 2000 at Memphis, where he led the Tigers to the 2008 NCAA title game. Memphis’ 38 wins in 2007-08 made him the winningest coach for a single season in NCAA history. As a result, Calipari was named the Naismith National Coach of the Year for a second time in his career. He is only the second coach to receive the honor multiple times since the award’s inception in 1987. Krzyzewski is the other to do so.

Calipari, the 2009 Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year, led the Tigers to nine straight 20-win campaigns and nine consecutive postseason appearances, the only Memphis coach to do that. He posted 252 on-court wins — 28.0 wins per season — as the Tigers’ head coach, making him the winningest coach in school history.
 

Calipari’s Roots

Calipari, who is on the board of directors for the National Association of Basketball Coaches, began his coaching career at Kansas as a volunteer assistant under Ted Owens. In 1983, he was hired as the recruiting coordinator at the University of Vermont, but he was swayed back to the nation’s heartland when Brown was hired as head coach at KU. He spent three seasons at Kansas (1982-85) before another three-year stint as an assistant coach to Paul Evans at Pittsburgh (1985-88).

The 62-year-old lettered two years at UNC-Wilmington before transferring to Clarion State. He played point guard at Clarion during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, leading the team in assists and free-throw percentage. The Eagles were ranked in the Division II top 20 both years and participated in the 1981 NCAA Division II Tournament. 

Servant Leader

Calipari has raised millions of dollars to help the lives of those in need in the Commonwealth and beyond. He has had a particular passion to assist those impacted by natural disasters. For instance, in 2010, he used a telethon to raise more than $1 million for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He followed that up with telethons in 2012, raising $1 million for victims of Superstorm Sandy, and in 2017, for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Calipari launched his foundation in 2012, and since then the foundation has worked with several key partners, including Samaritan’s Feet, 4 Paws for Ability, Team Focus, the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County, One Parent Scholar House, and the Kentucky Banker’s Association, which facilitates a program to teach Kentucky students the importance of financial management.  To these groups alone, the foundation has donated more than $1.5 million, a figure that does not include matching funds that have been contributed from individuals and corporations. Other nonprofits the foundation has supported through the years include the V Foundation, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, the Louisville Zoo Foundation and the American Red Cross – Bluegrass Chapter.

In 2013, Calipari initiated hosting an annual alumni weekend around his basketball fantasy experience with the intent to raise money for charity. After generating $350,000 for selected organizations and charities during the inaugural game, the weekend has generated millions of dollars for charity since its inception.

In 2019, when federal workers were without pay due to a government shutdown, he, his wife and his foundation assisted workers with financial help and grocery gift cards.

His latest efforts include spearheading the creation of the John McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative, a nationwide coach-driven initiative to provide minorities a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their network and instilling the values of John McLendon: integrity, education, leadership and mentorship. Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders.

Author of five books, including the New York Times Best Seller “Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out,” Calipari is a master of communication and maximizing talent. He lives by the motto “that it’s never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it’s about how high you bounce back.”

Calipari and his wife, Ellen, have two daughters, Erin and Megan, and a son, Brad, who plays at Detroit Mercy.

Head Coaching Record

SeasonTeamW-LPct.Accomplishments
1988-89UMass10-18.357 
1989-90UMass17-14.548
1990-91UMass20-13.606 Final Four
1991-92UMass30-5.857A-10 Champ (R/T); NCAA Sweet 16
1992-93UMass24-7.774A-10 Champ (R/T); NCAA Second Round
1993-94UMass28-7.800A-10 Champ (R/T); NCAA Second Round
1994-95UMass29-5.853A-10 Champ (R/T); NCAA Elite Eight
1995-96*UMass31-1.969A-10 Champ (R/T)
1996-97N.J. Nets26-56.317 
1997-98N.J. Nets43-39.524NBA Playoffs
1998-99N.J. Nets3-17.150 
2000-01Memphis21-15.583 Final Four
2001-02Memphis27-9.750C-USA Div. Champ; Champions
2002-03Memphis23-7.767C-USA Nat’l Div. Champ; NCAA
2003-04Memphis22-8.733C-USA Champ (R); NCAA Second Round
2004-05Memphis22-16.579 Final Four
2005-06Memphis33-4.892C-USA Champ (R/T); NCAA Elite Eight
2006-07Memphis33-4.892C-USA Champ (R/T); NCAA Elite Eight
2007-08*Memphis0-1.000 
2008-09Memphis33-4.892C-USA Champ (R/T); NCAA Sweet 16
2009-10Kentucky35-3.921SEC Champ (R/T); NCAA Elite Eight
2010-11Kentucky29-9.763SEC Champ (T); NCAA Final Four
2011-12Kentucky38-2.950SEC Champ (R); NCAA Champions
2012-13Kentucky21-12.636
2013-14Kentucky29-11.725NCAA Runner-Up
2014-15Kentucky38-1.974SEC Champ (R/T); NCAA Final Four
2015-16Kentucky27-9.750SEC Champ (R/T); NCAA Second Round
2016-17Kentucky32-6.842SEC Champ (R/T); NCAA Elite Eight
2017-18Kentucky26-11.703SEC Champ (T); Sweet 16
2018-19Kentucky30-7.811NCAA Elite Eight
2019-20Kentucky25-6.806No postseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020-21Kentucky9-16.360 
NCAA Totals 742-231.762 

*-season includes games later vacated due to NCAA sanctions; actual on-court records were 35-2 in 1995-96 and 38-2 in 2007-08. NCAA Tournament appearances were also vacated in 1996 and 2008. Actual on-court won-lost record overall is 750-211 for a .781 winning percentage.

Coaching Awards

  • 2021 NABC Guardians of the Game Pillar Award (Inclusion)
  • 2020 SEC Coach of the Year (Coaches)
  • 2020 USBWA District IV Coach of the Year
  • 2020 NABC District 20 Coach of the Year
  • 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ‘Service Above Self’ Honoree
  • 2018 NABC Metropolitan Award
  • 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2015 Associated Press National Coach of the Year
  • 2015 Naismith National Coach of the Year 
  • 2015 NABC National Coach of the Year
  • 2015 The Sporting News National Coach of the Year
  • 2015 Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year
  • 2015 SEC Coach of the Year (AP/Coaches)
  • 2015 USBWA District IV Coach of the Year
  • 2012 Nell & John Wooden Coach of the Year Leadership Award
  • 2012 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 2012 SEC Coach of the Year (AP/Coaches)
  • 2010 Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year
  • 2010 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 2010 SEC Coach of the Year (AP)
  • 2010 Sporting News SEC Coach of the Year
  • 2010 Yahoo! Sports SEC Coach of the Year
  • 2010 USBWA District IV Coach of the Year
  • 2009 NABC National Co-Coach of the Year
  • 2009 Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year
  • 2009 Phelan National Coach of the Year
  • 2009 Iba National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 2009 C-USA Coach of the Year
  • 2008 Naismith National Coach of the Year
  • 2008 C-USA Coach of the Year
  • 2008 Iba National Coach of the Year  Finalist
  • 2008 Phelan National Coach of the Year  Finalist
  • 2007 Phelan National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 2007 USBWA District IV Coach of the Year
  • 2007 Basketball Times S. Region Coach of the  Year
  • 2006 C-USA Coach of the Year
  • 2004 NABC District VII Coach of the Year
  • 1996 Naismith National Coach of the Year
  • 1996 NABC National Coach of the Year
  • 1996 The Sporting News National
  • Coach of the Year
  • 1996 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
  • 1995 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 1994 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
  • 1994 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
  • 1993 USBWA District I Coach of the Year
  • 1993 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
  • 1992 Eastern Basketball Coach of the Year

All-Time Calipari Draft Picks 

Player (School)RoundYear (Overall)
Bam Adebayo (UK)First2017 (14)
Eric Bledsoe (UK)First2010 (18)
Devin Booker (UK)First2015 (13)
Brandon Boston Jr. (UK)Second2021 (51)
Antonio Burks (MEM)Second2004 (36)
Marcus Camby (UMASS)First1996 (2)
Rodney Carney (MEM)First2006 (16)
DeMarcus Cousins (UK)First2010 (5)
Willie Cauley-Stein (UK)First2015 (6)
Anthony Davis (UK)First2012 (1)
Hamidou Diallo (UK)Second2018 (45)
Joey Dorsey (MEM)Second2008 (33)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (MEM)Second2008 (40)
Robert Dozier (MEM)Second2009 (60)
Tyreke Evans (MEM)First2009 (4)
De’Aaron Fox (UK)First2017 (5)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (UK)First2018 (11)
Archie Goodwin (UK)First2013 (29)
Josh Harrellson (UK)Second2011 (45)
Andrew Harrison (UK)Second2015 (44)
Tyler Herro (UK)First2019 (13)
Dakari Johnson (UK)Second2015 (48)
Keldon Johnson (UK)First2019 (29)
Terrence Jones (UK)First2012 (18)
Enes Kanter (UK)First2011 (3)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (UK)First2012 (2)
Brandon Knight (UK)First2011 (8)
Kevin Knox (UK)First2018 (9)
Skal Labissiere (UK)First2016 (28)
Doron Lamb (UK)Second2012 (42)
DeAndre Liggins (UK)Second2011 (53)
Trey Lyles (UK)First2015 (12)
Tyrese Maxey (UK)First2020 (21)
Darius Miller (UK)Second2012 (46)
Malik Monk (UK)First2017 (11)
Jamal Murray (UK)First2016 (7)
Nerlens Noel (UK)First2013 (6)
Daniel Orton (UK)First2010 (29)
Patrick Patterson (UK)First2010 (14)
Immanuel Quickley (UK)First2020 (25)
Julius Randle (UK)First2014 (7)
Lou Roe (UMass)Second1995 (30)
Derrick Rose (MEM)First2008 (1)
Marquis Teague (UK)First2012 (29)
Karl-Anthony Towns (UK)First2015 (1)
Tyler Ulis (UK)Second2016 (34)
Dajuan Wagner (MEM)First2002 (6)
John Wall (UK)First2010 (1)
PJ Washington (UK)First2019 (12)
Shawne Williams (MEM)First2006 (17)
James Young (UK)First2014 (17)

 

Top 10 Best Career Starts by Wins (27 Seasons – Through 2018-19)

*on-court wins
 

Coach (Teams) Seasons Pct.
Roy Williams (Kansas, North Carolina)1989-2015750202.788
John Calipari (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky)*1989-96, 2001-09, 10-19750211.780
Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach St., UNLV, Fresno State)1969-92, 96-98 688158.813
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)1977-2003653226.743
Bob Huggins (Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State)1981-2005, 2007-09639234.732
Dean Smith (North Carolina)1962-88638182.778
Mike Krzyzewski (Army, Duke)1976-2002637227.737
Denny Crum (Louisville)1972-98625253.712
Lute Olson (Long Beach State, Iow, Arizona)1974-2000 614218.738
John Wooden (Indiana State, UCLA)1947-73610155.797

 

Top 10 Best Starts by Wining Percentage (27 Seasons – Through 2018-19)

*on-court wins
 

Coach (Teams) Seasons Pct.
Adolph Rupp (Kentucky)1931-52, 54-58586103.851
Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach St., UNLV, Fresno State)1969-92, 96-98 688158.813
John Wooden (Indiana State, UCLA)1947-72610155.797
Roy Williams (Kansas, North Carolina)1989-2015750202.788
John Calipari (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky)*1989-96, 2001-09, 10-19750211.780
Dean Smith (North Carolina)1962-88638182.778
Henry Iba (NW Missouri State, Colorado, Oklahoma State)1930-1956570166.774
Frank Kearney (Rhode Island)1922-48387117.768
Phog Allen (Baker, Kansas, Haskell, Central Missouri, Kansas)1906-09, 13-35414126.767
Ed Diddle (Western Kentucky)1923-49488163.750