On the countdown's last day, Coach Cal appeared.
Ranking only behind Florida's Billy Donovan, Calipari has been named the nation's second-best coach by ESPN. Many UK fans will surely quibble with the ranking, but surely not the story that accompanied the ranking. Eamonn Brennan tells the tale of Coach Cal's first five years in Lexington, capturing what makes UK's head coach so good at what he does.
Here's an excerpt:
Last season's March run was also a helpful reminder of Calipari's sheer coaching ability. We laud coaches for bringing their teams along at the right time, for finding their peak in March. That's the Tom Izzo specialty. Calipari found that gear in his team at the last possible moment last season, and once he figured it out, it was clear why everyone -- himself included -- was so high on Kentucky in October. There is real tactical substance here: a unique, restrained offensive system, an ability to coax great defense out of young players and real fluency in advanced scouting and statistical ideas.
That's the story of John Calipari, the No. 2-ranked coach in our ESPN Forecast top 50 poll. The man is a born salesman. Sometimes, it's subtle, and sometimes, it's about as subtle as a campaign ad. When Calipari refers to himself as a "dream maker," or when he says his program doesn't play college basketball but is college basketball itself, it's hard not to chuckle. But salesmanship resonates only when you have a quality product to sell.
Calipari has both.
Link: Calipari second on ESPN's countdown