Wildcats coach John Calipari calls for new practice facility
August 12, 2022
Head coach John Calipari has called for a new practice facility for his college basketball team, the Kentucky Wildcats. He insisted the University of Kentucky should invest more in a team that had brought them numerous accolades.
"This is a basketball school. It’s always been that,” Calipari told The Athletic. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. I mean, they are. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls.”
He said that the university had done a lot more for the other sports teams and the academics. The university earlier built a $200 million facility for their football team. The baseball and soccer teams also received aid to improve their respective facilities.
The coach underlined the “dominance” of the basketball team and said the school should “keep moving in that direction” by providing financial assistance. He also asked the school administration to support the project.
Calipari suggested the new facility be located at the front and central parts of the university’s Lexington campus. The coach also expected an on-campus interactive building that Wildcats fans could visit to familiarize themselves with the team’s history.
During the preseason tour in the Bahamas, Calipari also complained about the basketball team’s practice facility, the Joe Craft Center, which was built fifteen years ago. Calipari told reporters they had to cancel a practice session the previous week due to leakage in the building.
The 63-year-old started his tenure in 2009 under a lifetime contract with the university. Since Calipari took over, the Wildcats have recorded 365-101. The Wildcats won the national championship in 2012. Under Calipari’s leadership, the Wildcats also appeared in the Final Four four times. They also claimed six victories in the Southeastern Conference regular seasons.
The Wildcats are known for producing NBA talents since Calipari joined them, although these talents have been described as “ones-and-dones” as they only played briefly in Kentucky. Calipari received the Naismith Coach of the Year award in 2015.
Although the University of Kentucky is acknowledged for having one of the best basketball programs in the country, it has yet to proceed far into the national tournament in recent years.
Their latest notable loss was to the Saint Peter's Peacocks during the first round of the NCAA Tournament this year. The opponent defeated them 85-79.
The last time they made a Final Four appearance was in 2015.
Star player Oscar Tshiebwe will return to the team for his senior season. The team has also drafted Cason Wallace, a five-star recruit. Wallace was the No. 2 point guard in 2021 class and was ranked ninth in the ESPN 100.
Response to demand
Wildcats football coach Mark Stoops disagreed with Calipari's statement about the university being basketball-focused. He was adamant that the football team had offered achievements to the school as well.
Stoops highlighted the football team's four straight wins in the postseason on his Twitter account. The Wildcats had not won since 2009 until Stoops joined the team in 2012.
Stoops led Kentucky’s football team to become a strong contender in the SEC. In the last four seasons, the team recorded 33-17. He received the Coach of the Year award in 2018.