Report: UK’s Calipari makes Hall of Fame

first_imgWith an official announcement coming Monday morning from Indianapolis, site of this year’s Final Four, ESPN reported Sunday that Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari will indeed enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.Citing an anonymous source, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman wrote that Calipari reached 18 of 24 possible votes needed to get in, though it was “extremely close.”Calipari, 56, has guided UK to four Final Fours and the 2012 national title in his six seasons while posting a .883 winning percentage, best of any Wildcats coach. He previously took Memphis to the 2008 national title game and UMass to the 1996 Final Four, with both appearances later vacated by the NCAA.It was a run to 38-0, with the Wildcats on the brink of a perfect season, that elevated Calipari this season to a number of other awards, including the Naismith Coach of the Year announced Sunday. He’s also the SEC Coach of the Year, as well as best in the nation by the Sporting News, Associated Press and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.“A coaching award is a staff award, and we are all celebrating these awards that are coming our way together because of the way these players have allowed us to coach them,” Calipari said. “The Naismith award is one of the first national coaching awards I received back in 1996 and holds a special place with me. When I heard that I was a finalist, I was excited just because it’s a reflection of how hard this staff and how hard our players have worked. To be able to get this prestigious award at three different schools is an honor, and I want to thank the Naismith committee for this award.”ESPN’s report on the Hall of Fame also noted that Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, whose team upset UK on Saturday night to advance to the national championship game, was not elected this year.Other first-ballot finalists waiting to hear whether they’re in include NBA referee Dick Bavetta, two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch, all-time winningest boys high school coach Robert Hughes, eight-time NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo, seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White, the all-time winningest high school coach Leta Andrews and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie.Those previously on the ballot and included again this year are five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood and three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson.last_img read more