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John Calipari Earns 800th Win Of His Career

There you have it, number 800. John Calipari has climbed his way up the ladder into the top tier of college basketball coaches, cementing his name on the list of the "greats" that have led many programs to national prominence over their respective careers.

After Kentucky's win over Mississippi State in an overtime-fashion, the Head Coach was asked what it meant to him to reach the career milestone.

"It means I've been doing this a long time. I’ve had a lot of good players. Publicly, I'd like to thank all those players from UMass, all those players from Memphis, and all those players here that have won all these games. When you're coaching good kids and when families entrust you with their sons, you're blessed. And to be in this job with this fan base, I am blessed. I've been doing this a long time, like 30-some years. I'm 56 now, but I started young. I was 18 when I first got my first job."

He was awarded the game ball just moments after the win.

Over John Calipari's career, he's managed to amass an overall record of 800-237, a record of 355-97 at UK, and a 373-118 all-time record within conference play as a head coach. Since joining the SEC in 2009, he's tallied up 165 wins and just 52 losses as the coach of Kentucky. Not to mention, he is 114-56 on the road (coaching UK) with a 290-56 record against unranked competition. Just roof-shattering numbers that solidify his worth as one of the greatest coaches to ever exist throughout the history of college basketball.

All-time NCAA Head Coaching Wins

  1. Mike Krzyzewski - 1,170 wins

  2. Jim Boeheim - 982 wins

  3. Jim Calhoun - 918 wins

  4. Roy Williams - 903 wins

  5. Bob Knight - 902 wins

  6. Bob Huggins - 900 wins

  7. Dean Smith - 879 wins

  8. Adolph Rupp - 876 wins

  9. Jim Phelan - 830 wins

  10. Rollie Massimino - 816 wins

  11. Eddie Sutton - 806 wins

  12. Rick Byrd - 805 wins

  13. John Calipari 800 (Cal's includes this season)

* The stats provided above were wins before the tip of the 2021-22 season.

Less than 10 days ago John Calipari conceded his 200th win inside Rupp Arena as the coach of Kentucky. Many of milestones in just a short period of time happening for Coach Cal.

In a press release put out by UK, they had this to say about John Calipari's decorated career:

With Kentucky’s win over UIC on Nov. 26, 2017, John Calipari reached 700 on-court wins. At the time he was one of just 41 coaches, regardless of NCAA level of classification, to reach that barrier. Only 29 coaches have done it with at least 10 seasons at the Division I level. Calipari became the fourth-fastest coach to 700 on-court wins ever at 894 games. Only Adolph Rupp (836 games), Jerry Tarka- nian (876 games) and Roy Williams (879 games) did it faster. Calipari is currently just two games away from 800 wins and in line to be the fourth fastest to 800 wins as well. At Kentucky, Calipari owns the second-most wins in program history, trailing only the legendary Adolph Rupp, who led the Wildcats for 41 seasons and spanned 1,066 games. Although Calipari is still climbing the charts, he is doing it nearly as fast as anyone else in NCAA history. When he and Kentucky defeated Ole Miss on March 5, 2019, Calipari became the fourth-fastest coach to 300 wins (369 games) at one program in NCAA history. Only Bill Self (358 games at Kansas), Claire Bee (359 games at Long Island) and Rupp (366 at UK) got there faster.

Through 12 seasons at Kentucky, John Calipari's time in Lexington has been every bit as successful -- and more -- as fans hoped it would when he agreed to become the head coach at Kentucky in the spring of 2009. By just about every measure, he is the most successful coach in college basketball during the last decade-plus. Among schools who have been to at least two Elite Eights and a Final Four since 2009-10, Calipari ranks:

  • First in NCAA Tournament wins (31)

  • First in Final Four appearances (four)

  • First in Elite Eight appearances (seven)

  • First in Sweet Sixteen appearances (eight)

  • Second in league tournament titles (six)

  • Third in wins (339)

  • Third in regular-season conference titles (six)

  • Third in NCAA titles (one)

At UMass, Calipari led the Minutemen to a 193-71 on-court record in his eight seasons as head coach from 1989-96. His .731 career winning percentage remains the best in school history, and he ranks second all-time at UMass in victories with 193. Calipari led UMass to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1992 to1996 after UMass had gone to the NCAAs only once in the first 81 years of the program. His Minutemen made the Atlantic 10's first and only Final Four appearance during the 1996 season, during which they went 35-2 overall and spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation. Following the 1996 season, Calipari was named National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, The Sporting News and Naismith. UMass won five straight Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season and tournament titles under Calipari from 1992 to 1996, becoming only the second team in NCAA history to win its conference championships in the regular season and postseason for five consecutive years.

Not only did John Calipari have a statue erected in his honor this past offseason, the court at Clarion -- Calipari's alma mater -- is now named after the Hall of Famer. The court in Tippin Gymnasium was officially renamed the John V. Calipari Court in September of 2021 and will be known as Coach Cal Court. Like many coaches, Calipari began his career in basketball on the court as a player. He he was a star high school basketball player at Moon High School in Western Pennsylvania under another Clarion graduate Joe Sacco. Calipari started his college playing career at UNC Wilmington before transferring to Clarion in 1981, helping the Golden Eagles reach their first NCAA Division II Tournament in program history that year. Under legendary head coach Joe DeGregorio, Clarion went 23-6 and reached the East Region championship game. Calipari was a key member of Clarion’s 1981-82 team that started the season 7-0 and ranked third in Division II at one point. Calipari has remained close with the program throughout his career.

Underscored by more victories than any other coach or program in his first 10 seasons at the helm at Kentucky, more Final Four appearances, a record number of NBA Draft picks, and the 2012 national championship, John Calipari was named the College Basketball Coach of the Decade by Sporting News in January 2020. In a piece penned by national writer Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News credited Calipari for changing the college basketball land- scape. Detailing Calipari's success – what DeCourcy described as a "college basketball revolution" – DeCourcy wrote that "no one defined the 2010s in the same way as Calipari ... nor achieved the same degree of consistent success." In an era where kids can enter the NBA Draft at 19 years old, Calipari masterfully balances the priority of players' long-term professional dreams with individual and team development, leading to on-court success that no other team has matched. "I knew we were going to make the program — and I said it at the press conference — it was going to be a players-first program," Calipari told Sporting News. "We were going to make decisions based on them and their needs. And it's not just about the name on the front. It'll be about the name on the back. That's how we're going to do this."


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