John Calipari Named To Naismith Coach of the Year Watch List

You can truly never count John Calipari out. Just months removed from the worst season in program history, he has the Wildcats back on top. His team is currently 21-5 and ranked No. 3 in the country in the Coaches Poll. In doing so, he has earned himself a spot on the Werner Ladder Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year watch list.


He's one of 15 coaches being considered for the 2022 award. Mark Adams (Texas Tech), Ed Cooley (Providence), Scott Drew (Baylor), Mark Few (Gonzaga), Steve Forbes (Wake Forest), Greg Gard (Wisconsin), Jeff Linder (Wyoming), Tommy Lloyd (Arizona), Bob McKillop (Davidson), Matt McMahon (Murray State), Bruce Pearl (Auburn), Kelvin Sampson (Houston), Shaka Smart (Marquette) and Brad Underwood (Illinois) all make up the list.


Calipari is already one of just two coaches to win the Naismith Men's Coach of the Year three times, tied with Duke's Mike Kzryzewski (1989, 1992, 1999) for the most Naismith honors. Calipari is looking to become the first four-time winner of the award. He last won it in 2015 and holds the distinction of having won the honor at three schools, also Memphis in 2008 and Massachusetts in 1996. In addition, he has been a finalist in 1994, 1995, 2010 and 2012.


This season has featured a few milestones for Calipari already:

  • Earned his 800th career win in 2021-22. At the time he was on of just 22 coaches, regardless of NCAA level of classification, to reach that barrier. Only 14 coaches have done it with at least 10 seasons at the Division I Level.

  • In reaching the 800-win plateau, Calipari became the fourth-fastest coach to the milestone. He achieved the feat in 1,037 games. Only Adolph Rupp (972), Roy Williams (1,012) and Dean Smith (1,029) did it faster.

  • Now with 805 on-court victories, Calipari is tied with Rick Byrd for 13th for the most victories in Division I history.

  • He also surpassed 200 wins inside of Rupp Arena which is the most of any Kentucky coach in the venue. The Wildcats have won 16 straight inside the building dating back to last season and are 15-0 on the year.

In his time at Kentucky, Calipari has won more NCAA Tournament games, appeared in more Final Fours, appeared in more Elite Eights, and played in more Sweet 16s than any other coach during the time period. His position at the top has been long held.

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