Things must play out very differently this time around as Mitch Barnhart was very quick to pull the trigger on Billy Gillispe after Billy Donovan turned down the Wildcats. It almost seems as if Mitch did not know what he was really getting with Billy when he hired him, which was a guy who wanted to coach basketball and recruit and nothing else.
To many people Mitch Barnhart shares just as much of the blame as Gillispie does and I can somewhat see this.
He brought in a guy who really wanted nothing to do with the other parts of the job and here at Kentucky you cannot thrive as the coach if you are not willing to embrace the fans and media. It seems to me that Mitch did not look in every direction that he should and that makes this search so important.
Mitch must take his time, he must make sure that he has the man ready to bring Kentucky back to the top. He must have a man ready to embrace the job and everything that it entails, not just the coaching and recruiting part.
The Kentucky fans are going to be very impatient, but Mitch cannot rush this to appease them as that is what he did last time and just two years later we are already for Gillispie’s replacement.
When Mitch makes this hire he must be 100 percent confident that he has found the right man for the job, if there is just 1 percent of doubt than Mitch should not pull the trigger, there can be no doubt in this hire.
Mitch, Lee Todd, and Mike Pratt make up the known members of the search committee and they must find their man and they really must not take no for an answer. Having Mike Pratt a former player who loves UK on the search committee is really important as he knows and understands what it takes to be a Wildcat and will make sure we hire the right man for the job.
Who is the home run? To me the man we must go after until he either accepts or 100 percent says no is John Calipari.
He has everything that is needed to be the coach here, he can coach, recruit, and would love the spotlight of being the coach at UK. He would relish the opportunity to take down Rick Pitino every year and the opportunity that comes with being the head coach of Kentucky.
I know Calipari has been accused of recruiting violations, but those accusations were nothing more than rumors. I know with Kentucky’s past problems of probation that we would like to shy away from anyone associated with recruiting violations, but nothing has ever been found on this man and he is the home run Kentucky must hit.
Calipari is the type of coach who would return Kentucky back to it’s normal self of playing for final fours and national championships.
If he would come next year you could expect Meeks and Patterson to return and I think he would be able to reel Daniel Orton and Jon Hood back with him.
At Memphis he has also secured commitments from from top three players in Xavier Henry and Demarcus Cousins both of who likely might follow him to Kentucky.
Plus, he is high up on the number one recruit in the county point guard John Wall who could follow Calipari to Kentucky who previously was on Wall’s list.
Calipari could have Kentucky playing for championships as soon as next year. Kentucky needs to go after him with reckless abandon and must do anything in its power to get Calipari.
There are other coaches who if hired would be very successful at UK, but I do not see anyone being as successful as Calipari would be here at Kentucky.