John Vincent Calipari (born February 10, 1959, in Moon Township (a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a former professional and current College basketball coach. Since 2000, he has been the head coach of the University of Memphis men's basketball team. Calipari lettered two years at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington before transferring to Clarion State, where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing. He played point guard at Clarion during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, leading the team in assists and free throw percentage. Calipari and his wife, Ellen, have two daughters, Erin Sue and Megan Rae, and a son, Bradley Vincent.

From 1982–85, he was an assistant at the University of Kansas under Ted Owens and Larry Brown. From 1985–88, he was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh under Paul Evans. From 1988–96, he was head coach at the University of Massachusetts. From 1996–99, he was head coach and Executive VP of basketball operations for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. During the 1999–2000 season, he was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers under coach Larry Brown, before moving on to his current position at the University of Memphis. He was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Coaching careerEdit

In his first 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Calipari's record is 431–139 (.756). His record in the month of March is 86–30 (.741). His record in the NCAA tournament is 23–10 (.697) and in the NIT is 15–5 (.750). His teams have made ten NCAA tournament appearances, including reaching the Sweet Sixteen six times, the Elite Eight five times, the Final Four two times, and the championship game once (Memphis). He has coached five teams to the NIT, winning the NIT championship at Memphis in 2002. He is one of only three coaches in NCAA Division I history to direct two different schools to a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament; North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Kansas coach Bill Self are the others.

Through 17 collegiate seasons, only Roy Williams has won more games than Calipari. He hit the 300-win mark on February 9, 2005 when his Tigers upset No. 9 Louisville 85–68 in Freedom Hall. He hit the 400-win mark on February 20, 2008 with a 97–71 victory over Tulane University].

University of MassachusettsEdit

From 1988–96 at UMass, Calipari led the Minutemen program to a number of conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, including periods where the program was ranked first nationally. He finished with a 193-71 record overall, with a 91–41 record in Atlantic 10 conference games. Calipari was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993, and 1996. He was also named the Naismith, NABC, Basketball & Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 1996. He led UMass to its first-ever appearance in the Final Four with the play of the John R. Wooden Award winner and Naismith College Player of the Year Marcus Camby.

Calipari helped accelerate the construction of the Mullins Center, UMass' basketball and hockey facility. He also reached out to eastern Massachusetts and Boston to enlarge the fan base. Before moving on to the New Jersey Nets, Calipari became the second winningest coach in UMass history behind Jack Leaman.

New Jersey NetsEdit

In an effort to start anew for the 1996–97 season, John Calipari replaced Butch Beard as head coach of the New Jersey Nets. Kerry Kittles was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft and midway through the 1996–97 season, the team traded for Sam Cassell. After a 26–56 win-loss season, the Nets made a major draft-day trade in June 1997, acquiring Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris and two other players for Tim Thomas. The only player from the early 1990s that the Nets retained was Jayson Williams, who was developing into a rebounding specialist.

The 1997–98 season was a lone bright spot for the Nets in the late 1990s. The team played well under Calipari, winning 43 games and qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Nets were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 playoffs in three straight games. The Nets played well and came close to taking the first two games.

The 1998–99 season was delayed for three months due to an owners' lockout of the players. When the abbreviated 50-game season began, the Nets were a fashionable choice by experts as a surprise team. However, Cassell was injured in the first game and the team started poorly. With the Nets underachieving at 3–15, the Nets traded Cassell to the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Nets acquired Stephon Marbury from the Minnesota Timberwolves. After two more losses, Calipari was fired as head coach with the team at 3–17.

University of MemphisEdit

Calipari CIMG0087

Calipari directing his players during an away game against Conference USA rival University of Houston in January 2007.

In Calipari's first nine years as head coach at Memphis, he won 238 games, posted eight consecutive 20-win seasons (including three consecutive 30-win seasons) and earned eight consecutive postseason bids. His 2007–2008 team's 38 victories set a new NCAA Division I Men's Basketball record for most victories in a season. The eight consecutive 20-win seasons are the most for the Tigers since 1981–89 and the eight consecutive postseason appearances are the most in school history. He was named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008.

Calipari has been largely credited with not only revitalizing the Memphis program, but also re-energizing the city's love affair with Memphis Tigers basketball. He has built a national program by recruiting Blue chip players from all across the country, such as Derrick Rose from Chicago (IL), Xavier Henry from Putnam City (OK), Shawne Williams from Memphis (TN), Darius Washington Jr. from Orlando (FL), Tyreke Evans from Aston (PA), and Dajuan Wagner from Camden (NJ).

At Memphis, Calipari has popularized the Memphis Attack offense that was invented by former Pepperdine basketball coach, Vance Walberg.

On January 21, 2008, Calipari led the Tigers to the #1 ranking in the AP Poll for the second time in school history. Calipari won his 200th game as the Memphis head coach on Saturday, January 26, 2008 with an 81–73 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs, reaching that milestone faster than any Tiger mentor.

With a 94–56 victory over the UAB Blazers on March 8, 2008, Calipari became the second coach in NCAA history (Adolph Rupp of the Kentucky Wildcats was the first) to win 30 or more games three seasons in a row. During the 2005–08 seasons, the Memphis Tigers won a combined 104 games, tying the 1996–98 Kentucky Wildcats with an NCAA Division I Men's Basketball record for the most victories over three consecutive seasons.

In 2006 and 2008, Memphis earned a #1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In 2008, Calipari's Tigers advanced to the national championship game, their first under his leadership. His team, however, would lose to the Kansas Jayhawks 75–68 in overtime. After the tournament, he was named Naismith College Coach of the Year, receiving the honor the second time.

On November 18, 2008, Calipari became the all-time leader in career coaching victories at the University of Memphis when the Memphis Tigers defeated UMass, coached by former Memphis assistant coach and UMass guard Derek Kellogg.

College coaching recordEdit

NBA coaching recordEdit

Team Year Overall Record Postseason
NJ Nets 1996–97 26–56 None
NJ Nets 1997–98 43-39 0–3
NJ Nets 1998–99 3–17 None
NBA Overall 72–112


External linksEdit

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