All-Access Kentucky “Death of a Basketball Coach”
As long as I can remember my dream was to coach basketball, specifically college basketball. After twelve years associated with Division 1 basketball, I learned being a college basketball coach did not hold up to the ideals of my dreams
John Calipari has become the most polarizing college coach since Bobby Knight. College hoops fans and analysts often make the ridiculous assessment that he is just a recruiter and not a good coach. They call him a cheater and harp on his failures as a coach or with the NCAA. All of these assessments are wrong, Coach Cal was just the first to understand he is a businessman first and basketball coach second.
Rick Pitino changed basketball in the late 80’s/early 90’s with the promotion of his individual improvement program. Pitino was the first to sell that he was developing the individual player for the NBA. Pitino was the first to truly understand what college players cared about most, playing professional basketball. Today, the business of private instruction is one of the largest basketball businesses in the world with kids working on “their game” with an individual coach from as early as Kindergarten.
Coach Calipari is the first to realize he is not coaching college basketball, but a minor league basketball franchise. It is on display for everyone on ESPN with All-Access Kentucky. People used to call college coaches salesman, as their job was to recruit kids to attend their University, with recruiting just being a nice word to describe the sales pitch. College coaches are no longer salesman, but the CEO of a multi-million dollar business. Coach Cal is just running the best business model: tradition, winning, facilities, fan base, twitter, celebrity friends, but mostly he is the first to sell what college basketball really is at its high level: Minor League Basketball - true preparation to land an NBA contract for the best players in the country and their families.
When Coach Cal does finish coaching, sadly he will be admired more for his business acumen than his brilliant coaching mind as he leads the newest play of our generation “Death of a Basketball Coach.”
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, so let me give thanks to the good of College Basketball.
Early Season Tournaments and Fundraiser Games: Great matchups almost every night and a chance to see what new players will explode onto the college basketball world.
Butler University: There is no more likable coach, program in the history of college basketball that keeps us interested. Thank you Rotnei Clarke.
College Football: While college football is the root of the evil of college realignment, there is nothing that makes us love college sports more than a college football Saturday – cheering for or against Notre Dame, Michigan VS Ohio St, SEC Football, an upset like Stanford over Oregon.
University of Illinois – After a few years of underachievement and a selfish team, how many of the same kids under new direction give a school new life under new direction – congrats John Groce – you have me interested!
Kentucky vs. Duke – Please become college basketball’s newest and best rivalry.
Jim Boeheim – Thank you for not being a stool pigeon for Syracuse and all of college sports and speak for those that are devastated by loss of traditional matchups and conference loyalty.
Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Bill Raftery and so many great analysts – I believe college basketball has the best analysts of any sport across the board and while I am disappointed overall in the quality of college hoops, these announcers make me want to kick my feet up and watch hoops (will always pay respect to Dick Vitale for what he has done for the game – not a great analyst but the voice that sold college hoops better than anyone).
CollegeInsider.com – While ESPN and many other media outlets has trumpeted Mid-Major, CollegeInsider.com is the true birthplace of the Mid-Major and has been instrumental in the growth that many Universities have made in college hoops – Good Luck on another season of leading the way in promoting the next Damien Lillard, or big surprise team we will see in March.