Decade will be plenty for Cal at Kentucky
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:02 pm
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — 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 21⁄2-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 recently lost thir No. 1 ranking in a loss at Indiana and came back with a win over Chattanooga.
Calipari’s immediate worry is the status of Terrence Jones.
A photo of Jones’ dislocated finger made its rounds through the Kentucky locker room.
Jones is grimacing in pain in the photo with his left pinky bent at almost a right angle away from his shooting hand.
“Yeah, I’ve seen it,” Kentucky guard Darius Miller said Monday. “It’s pretty nasty.”
Jones has missed practice Sunday and Monday, but Calipari would not rule out his 6-foot-9 forward for the third-ranked Wildcats (9-1) against Samford on Tuesday night.
“I don’t know yet. We’ll see,” the coach said. “I don’t expect him to start if he doesn’t practice today, but I don’t know.”
Jones dislocated his left-pinky finger in Saturday’s 87-62 win over Chattanooga early in the game, and tried to return several times before exiting for good early in the second half.
Published in The Messenger 12.20.11