Should he stay or should he go?

It’s a Clash Monday here on the ol’ blog where we’ll ask the age old question – should he stay or should he go – of Memphis coach John Calipari and whether or not he should entertain an offer from the University of Kentucky to be its new head basketball coach.

Now, there’s some doubt that the Wildcats will run the risk of hiring Calipari, who has a bit of history of running afoul of the NCAA, to repair the damage of the short-lived Billy Gillispie era.

But if they come calling, Calipari will come running.

Here’s why.

1. The big fish/little fish syndrome – Here’s a man who’s won big as a college basketball coach, piling up a 446-140 record in 17 college seasons.

But where has it happened? He was 193-71 at UMass, where he was also 91 up and 41 down in the Atlantic 10. He then left for an ill-fated three NBA seasons in New Jersey before landing at Memphis, where he’s gone 253-69 overall and an eye-popping 117-25 in Conference USA games.

If you’re the best coach of the best team in a crappy conference, does it matter to anyone?

How often have we heard Calipari play the “no respect” card. We heard it this year when his Tigers were passed over for a No. 1 seed after yet another romp through an over matched league slate.

This is his chance to start…

2. Making a legacy– Don’t fall into the trap of recency. Kentucky is a college basketball dream job.

You get to coach in a good, but not great basketball league in the SEC. You have the full support of the university and legions of wealthy boosters to keep you and your staff well funded. You have top notch facilities and a sea-to-shining-sea clout that makes recruiting for a man of Calipari’s skills and connections a snap.

It’s the kind of place, much like Alabama in football, that the right guy can win big and win quick.

Kentucky basketball isn’t dead. It’s just sleeping.

And Calipari could be the alarm clock.

3. The world is out to get me– There will never be a better chance for Calipari to shed his big coach, small school label and come out the shadow of guys like Rick Pitino and Coach K than this one.

What could be easier? All he has to do is return Wildact basketball to its former glory and become college basketball royalty.

Then, he’ll get to slide around on hardwood floors in a button-up shirt and boxers in Guitar Hero commercials with the big boys.

If he gets the call – and avoids any UConn-esque scandals – I think he’s the man for the job.


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