First, I'd like to say that I enjoyed the Memphis basketball program under former head coach John Calipari. The Tigers had great success, and we fans were able to watch some truly gifted athletes become great players and great men during his watch.
However, to help everyone process the change, I would like to start a list of the things that Cal did poorly. Hopefully this will get the public more optimistic about Coach Pastner and his new endeavor.
- Cal did not recruit local (Memphis) talent successfully. The Tiger faithful had to follow Georgia Tech to see what Thaddeus Young did, and Wake just to see O'Kelley. We have always enjoyed watching "our" talent at the University, but under Cal, they went elsewhere.
- He absolutely could not get the most out of the players he had. Bobby Knight once said "the chief want in everyone is for someone to bring out the best in them." Cal never understood this and gave up on a lot of players too early.
- Calipari demanded a raise year after year. I don't mind people making what they are worth, but this led to ticket prices at the Forum reaching untouchable levels, even for fans that had been season ticket holders since the Coliseum. I find it hard to believe that revenue for tickets generates that much money compared with TV rights, apparel fees, and speaking engagements.
- The whole "Worldwide Wes" association stinks. I know that college basketball is a competive business and that in order to get the players, you have to be relentless, but Cal always had an unpleasant aura. I don't know if he broke rules or not, but the perception of foul play is not just mine. I don't subsribe to the "win at all cost" mentality, and a major violation could be deadly for the athletic department at Memphis.
- I heard John speak many times and was always amazed at how unprepared he was. I know everyone thinks he himself is the greatest PR man ever, but if you hear three Cal interviews, you've heard them all. From "it is what it is," "it takes a village," and "miserables," to "for sale signs in my yard," "blue hairs love me," and "us against them," it got old. And after a one seed and a two seed, he is still campaigning with "no respect." I think Dangerfield has been reincarnated.
Tiger Nation: Add your thoughts to my list; let's see just how much we will all miss Cal.