Calipari Named Adolph Rupp Coach of the Year

April 7, 2015

April 23 update: Coach Cal received the award in a ceremony on April 23. Photos, video, and a trancript are available after the original release.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky coach John Calipari has been named Adolph Rupp Coach of the Year by the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky.

He was also previously named Naismith, Sporting News, Associated Press and the National Association of Basketball Coaches' National Coach of the Year.

Calipari is the first two-time winner of Rupp Coach of the Year, as he earned the honor in 2010.

The winner was selected by the CAC of Kentucky's voting panel, which is made up of national media members as well as active and retired Division I coaches.

Calipari led UK to a 38-1 record this season, tied for the NCAA single-season wins record. Calipari's 2007-08 Memphis team and 2011-12 Kentucky team were the only other teams to win 38 games in a season.

Kentucky reached its second straight Final Four and the fourth in the last five years. Kentucky was the first team to enter the Final Four undefeated since 1991.

Kentucky has spent 19 straight weeks at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 this season, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. UK now owns the NCAA Division I record for most appearances at No. 1 in the AP poll in a single season at 19.

Calipari was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the AP for the third time in his career earlier this season.

On Monday, Calipari was announced as a 2015 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His enshrinement will take place in September.

Calipari will be awarded his Rupp Coach of the Year award on a date to be determined in a ceremony that will take place on the UK campus.

The Commonwealth Athletic Club also named Willie Cauley-Stein a first team All-American.

April 23: Coach Cal Receives Adolph Rupp Cup

Photo Gallery

Transcript

Opening statement ...
"Let me first of all thank the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky and in particular the Rupp family. You guys have been so kind to me since I walked in town. I'm mad that Chip's not here, and Frederick, I wanted to see him. But, you've been kind, you know, this thing here that your father left is crazy. What he did. I told you I read the book he wrote in 1941. He wrote a book in 41 that's still pertinent today. Some of the terms, like you say tom-tom, he also had a word two-time, which was double-team. It wasn't trap, it wasn't... because no one was doing them. What he left, the legacy, this is the only state I know that again, Louisville has a good program and they have their following, but this state, from east to west, what he did to create this is incredible and it stays through today. I don't know who I was talking to, but I said `the legacy that you want to leave is that when I'm gone, this thing just continues to go.' That's what this did. It hasn't changed. Whether I'm in this seat or someone else is in this seat, what he did to keep this thing going is crazy. I will tell you that playing anyone, anywhere and anytime, I took that up at UMass back in the day. I'll be honest that I didn't know, that, but when I look, I did planes, he did trains then. But the same thing that programs that got it going followed what he was doing. If you wanted to get a program going, this is how you were going to have to do it. And he also knew you had to have really good players. I talked to the guys that played for him, and I talked to Coach Hall and tried to find out, the first 30 minutes of every practice was all shooting. Because if can score more than them, they're not beating us. And it was like not tip-toe shooting. Lou Dampier says `no, we, you worked, it wasn't, you went 30 minutes.' He kept practices to two hours. Think about that now where now you have guys trying to practice four hours. You know my whole mindset is `fresh minds and fresh legs.' He was doing it back then. I mean, the stuff that he did, for this award to be named after him, that I'm able to be honored with it twice. And I think the last time you said no Kentucky coach has ever gotten this. And so to be able to say twice that I was honored with this award, I just can't begin to tell you. And you, I think the family knows how I feel, and the respect I have. And Frederick is one of my favorites by the way. Chip's ok. But, I just again, thank you to the Rupp family, thank you to the Commonwealth Club. This is a very meaningful award for me.

On where Alex Poythress is in his decision of whether to come back or enter the NBA Draft ...
"We've talked. I think he wants to come back. He'll be fine. I'm so anxious to get him and Marcus Lee on the court because it's their time now. This is their time."

On Marcus Lee ...
"It's hard. He played behind Karl(-Anthony Towns) and Willie (Cauley-Stein). In a normal college situation, that is normal. That's the way it's supposed to be, but you're at Kentucky. It's like warp speed. I am so anxious for him and want this for him. It's his time and he knows it. I think you'll see people saying, `Cal should've played him the last two years. What the heck was he thinking?' But those guys in front of him were pretty good."

On how Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis have approached the offseason...
"I would say both of them. I've seen Derek in the gym on his own putting up shots. It's still an exciting time. We have three guys in the warm-up line right now and someone said they picked us to be No. 1 in the country. We don't even have a team and we're No. 1 in the country. It comes back to what Coach Rupp started here. It's expected here."

On how close the team is to being complete from a recruiting standpoint ...
"Some guys have to talk to us, but I think we're going to be fine. At the end of the day, it's going to be crazy again."

On comparing the current era with Coach Rupp's time ...
"There were some things that I didn't anticipate. I didn't know we'd lose five guys and they'd all go in the first round after my first year. A light went off went it happened like, `Uh oh, this has changed the dynamic of what we're dealing with now.' I didn't fight it. I rolled with it. The next year we go to the Final Four, lose four guys off of that team, and then win the national championship the next year and lose six guys off that team. This will be 26 guys that have gotten to the NBA in six years - crazy. We've also graduated 10 players, plus three this year, and Willie is only three or four classes away from getting his degree. Three of those guys will now have graduated in the three years. It's not at the expense of academics, but we're letting kids chase their dreams. It's really similar to Jordan Speith, who stayed one year at Texas. I don't know if he was eligible that last term like our guys, but he won the Masters. He's maybe the greatest, like Anthony Davis, golfer on the planet. It's a different time now in what we're dealing with. It's an exciting time, but it's a challenge. `How do you do this? This is crazy. You have to lose your mind.' No. I'm excited for these kids. After the excitement wears off, I panic a little bit, then I figure out how we're going to do this next year."

On when he knew he wanted to become a basketball coach ...
"My parents were laborers, so there were no professionals in my family. You're and youngster and who do you look up to when you have no professional? Teachers are the only professionals that you come into contact with and coaches. I looked up to those guys. My dad played softball with the baseball coach, whose assistant coach was the basketball coach. That's how I got involved in basketball. As a third, fourth and fifth grader, the people I looked up to were teachers and coaches. That's when you start saying, `That's what I want to do.' That wasn't by watching TV and NBA games. It was my life. Can you imagine living today? When we grew up and you were in your area. If you took a vacation, then you drove to it. I'm not that old. I didn't get on a plane until I was 19. Everything was localized. You had three TV stations - CBS, ABC, and NBC. That's it. You had the wires and sometimes you had to stand there and move to get signal. That's how it was. It's different now. Us trying to adjust to this and all this stuff that's happened for me is crazy."