The University of Memphis announced plans Wednesday to honor former head coach John Calipari later this year following his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but backlash from members of the university community halted those arrangements Thursday.
Following an outpouring of responses decrying the announcement, University of Memphis president Dr. M. David Rudd tweeted out a statement reversing the school's decision:
Calipari's eldest daughter, Erin, tweeted out her reaction to the news:
"The university gave me a chance to revive my career and together we built something special that continues today," Calipari told the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Jason Smith. "(My wife) Ellen and I enjoy the friendship of many and our family considers Memphis a special place with many fond memories."
Evidently, Tigers fans don't share in that mutual adoration despite Calipari leading Memphis to a .785 winning percentage during his nine years with the program.
Although he led Memphis to a 2008 national championship appearance and qualified for regional semifinals at the NCAA tournament every year between 2006 and 2009, his departure from the state of Tennessee wasn't particularly graceful.
Shortly after Calipari bolted for Kentucky, Memphis was slapped with three years of probation stemming from NCAA rules violations committed during his tenure as head coach. Memphis' school-record 38 wins during the 2007-08 season were also vacated as part of the punishment.
Given the terms on which Calipari left, the university's decision to cancel the ceremony appears to be a prudent move that will prevent bad blood from boiling over in a public setting.