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John Calipari's New Job and Recent Coaching Changes

Dan Wheat-RiversContributor IApril 1, 2009

Someone asked my opinion on Calipari changing jobs, so I thought I'd make today's blog about recent college coaching changes and rumors.

Tony Bennett left Washington State on Monday to become the head coach at Virginia. I have a couple of worries about this.

First, Bennett is still relatively young for a coach.

Second, I don't think he can possibly understand the pressure and basketball climate of an ACC school. He went to a small school in Green Bay, WI if I remember correctly.

He did play some pro ball in Charlotte and was a decent back up, so he might understand a little bit of the culture.

One thing that might help Bennett is that UVA is about even on the football-basketball scale, not like Duke, Carolina or Kentucky where it is all about basketball.

I was going to talk about Anderson in Missouri next, but I just learned he's not going anywhere and his salary is getting doubled to stay, so I'll move on to the big coaching move, Calipari leaving Memphis to go to Kentucky.

I'm sure some Memphis fans are upset and think the school could have done more to keep him, but I'm not sure doubling what UK is paying him would have made him stay.

UK is one of the top five, maybe 10, historical basketball programs in the country.

Calipari will finally stop being asked questions about being the dominate team in a weak conference, recruiting won't be an issue, he'll have all the boosters he wants, and as a bonus, will get Rick Pitino as a rival.

I've heard several times that Calipari has wanted to be Pitino for years, and this is his chance. He takes over his old job and gets him as an in-state rival.

For those UK fans that are expecting the final four next year, stop now.

I'm sure Calipari will have you winning, but he'll be coaching guys he didn't recruit and he won't have any veteran players that are used to his style and can help teach the freshman what coach means when he's yelling "you gotta man up" or whatever he yells at them.

Give him three years and then you can expect to be in the final four every year again. Just remember that that pressure tends to push coaches out the door.

Now, for you poor Memphis fans, what to do?

You're not a big enough school to likely lure a big name away from a school like a Rick Barnes. You might be able to steal Oklahoma State's coach away, but that's close to a lateral move so you have to offer more than OSU can.

That's what makes filling this job harder than filling the UK job. You might be big enough steal a guy from the lower half of a bigger conference the way ASU got Sendek when he was tired of the high expectations of the ACC.

I think it's more likely you'll get a mid-major coach looking up though, like a guy from Davidson or Morehead State or something like those.

Unless, of course, they can find an unemployed coach looking to come back who doesn't want to go to Georgia.

I hope you find a good coach to continue your success.

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