Coaching Search Drama: Calipari's "Standard" & A Note On Appreciating Howland

I am sure everyone by knows about the drama going around Calipari re. his possible move to Kentucky (latest reports indicate that he is taking the gig). I thought the following update from Memphis Commercial Appeal, a site covering the Tigers, posted earlier today was pretty hilarious (emphasis added):

Calipari dropped by to see a collection of buddies at Gibson's Donuts at Mt. Moriah at 9:35 this morning.

Unbeknownst to him, The Commercial Appeal had a source -- we'll call him Deep Crueller -- at a nearby table.

Calipari stayed for exactly eight minutes. In that span, he said:

** In addition to Kentucky, Arizona came after him over the weekend offering not a salary but a blank check. Calipari said, "No thanks."

** He was in the Memphis Athletic Office Building yesterday but slipped out a side door.

** He loves Memphis but is drawn to the history and prestige of Kentucky. Calipari said it's one of five programs -- along with North Carolina, Duke, UCLA and Kansas -- any coach would have to consider.

Nobody actually came out and asked Calipari if he was leaving, but he said he hadn't made up his mind. He was going to drive around Memphis today and decide this afternoon.

Getting updates from Calipari from a Donut shot? rofl.

Anyway, funnier was the comment re. Arizona. Guess he doesn't think much of the "standard" of the Pac-10.

One would think all high profile coaches around the country will take note of his take on Arizona. I was hearing how Zona fans were dreaming about getting someone like Calipari or Pitino. Who knows. They might end up getting someone like Pitino but I can't imagine Pitino leaving what he already has built in Louisville (which BTW doesn't match Howland'a 3 straight Final-4s) to come over to Tucson and somewhat start all over again.

Meanwhile, while we are on topic of the coaching searches, let me reiterate what I wrote in response gbruin's observation on how lucky we all are to have UCLA basketball to root for under Ben Howland. Remember CBH was approached two years (astute college basketball observers can connect the dots) ago about an opening. From a Simers column highlighted here last March:

He was offered big bucks by a big-time basketball school to leave UCLA after last season, but it was his dream to coach the Bruins, he says, and he still has things he wants to accomplish here.

He didn’t bother entertaining it. He turned it down and gee anyone want to take a guess which "big-time basketball school" was looking for a head coach in 2007? I don't think it's that hard connecting the dots. Is it?

Meanwhile reading by the letters from idiots in the LAT, it’s clear there is a small segment of UCLA fanbase (the Johnny Come Lately bandwagoners who hopped on board after Zaga 06) has no idea how good we have it with Howland. Just this year we saw from KU and Memphis. How tough it is to make to back to back final-4s and yet there was Howland taking us to three straight.

I am not naive. If some of the whiners who write to LAT get a little louder with the support from the often ignorant LA media, I wouldn’t blame Howland if he even thinks about entertaining offers of more money from other programs (or perhaps an NBA team) but at least meanwhile we will do what we can to make sure to reinforce how much we appreciate him at this little corner of the internets.

GO BRUINS.

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