Andy Katz Article On Calipari Coming to NC State

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The vote had been taken. It was unanimous. John Calipari was leaving. He was going to accept the NC State job.

Every assistant on the private jet flying through the spring night in 2006 from Memphis to Raleigh had his hand up. Assistant John Robic, who had been with Calipari at UMass, voted with his leg. It was their way of assuring the coach that they would all make the move to the new school with him.

John Calipari has had a rocky road at Memphis, but it is getting smoother as he’s turned the Tigers into a national championship caliber team.

“Yeah, we were gone,” Calipari said last Friday as he ate fried chicken in one of his many spots along Beale Street, within eyesight of the FedEx Forum.

Calipari was enticed by NC State’s commitment to the program, the financial considerations for his staff, and the challenge of facing the blue bloods at Duke and North Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Tigers were coming off an Elite Eight run ultimately ended by UCLA. It was the last game of Calipari’s sixth year at Memphis in what had been a bumpy ride to resuscitate a once nationally known program.

“The thing I can tell you about coaching is that we make decision and career moves when your nerves and emotions are still raw, right after the season,” Calipari said last Friday. “It’s the worst profession for that. Other professions, they have time to sit back and process and logically make a decision. … Emotionally, we don’t have a chance to decompress, to make a good decision. Thankfully, people got involved in the decision.”

When Calipari flew back with his staff, he took a midnight walk with the Memphis team minister along the golf course where Calipari resides. He later spoke with some of his new influential friends at FedEx.

“The NC State thing was the most emotional thing we’ve been through here,” said Calipari’s wife, Ellen.

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46 Responses to Andy Katz Article On Calipari Coming to NC State

  1. packfanstk 10/19/2007 at 9:37 PM #

    I am SOOOOO happy FedEx et al ponied up to keep Brother Calipari in Memphis.

  2. ADS95 10/19/2007 at 9:51 PM #

    In hindsight, Thank God he stayed in Memphis.

  3. noah 10/19/2007 at 10:37 PM #

    Yep. The more I learn about the man, the happier I am that he decided to stick with Memphis.

  4. RabidWolf 10/19/2007 at 10:46 PM #

    Are they sure that it was a midnight walk along a golf course? I thought he made all of his big decisions in meetings a the ‘bada bing’.

  5. OwenDorm83 10/19/2007 at 10:59 PM #

    hindsight being 20/20…I’ll take Sid. Sometimes, things work out for a reason…

  6. SuperStuff 10/19/2007 at 11:08 PM #

    I never liked this guy. He’s too shady for my liking.

  7. dj9686 10/19/2007 at 11:28 PM #

    When they were considering him I didn’t like it because I knew of his shading dealings at UMass and the less than steller players he went after at Memphis. Jed lucked out. We got the best coach we could have gotten and thank God we didn’t get the God Father.

  8. backinpack 10/19/2007 at 11:41 PM #

    Based on the last half of last season, Sid was a good choice.

    But let’s not forget we recently had an old player (notice I didn’t say alumnus) who was emotional and won championships at his old job too. I’m excited about the program, but let’s see how we are in year 4 or 5.

    I’ll shut-up if we’ve hung some sort of championship banner that contains the letters ‘C’ and ‘A’ by then (and let’s hope we do!!).

  9. beowolf 10/19/2007 at 11:43 PM #

    The more I learn about the man, the happier I am that he decided to stick with Memphis.

    Same here.

    But that was one helluva night watching that late-night plane to Memphis, with SFN scooping WRAL and starting a national trend of tracking flights involved in coaching searches. “The lights are on at the RBC! They’ve turned the RBC webcam off!” Holy Christmas.

  10. GAWolf 10/20/2007 at 12:27 AM #

    Is it just me or is it kind of in-your-face that they mention the influential “friends” at Fedex… especially considering his players get “internships” there in the off-season. I guess we can read into anything and everything but that seems a bit blatant.

  11. PackerInRussia 10/20/2007 at 1:41 AM #

    “Calipari calls it driving motion (or “Princeton on steroids”) because it relies on the players’ being essentially interchangeable parts”

    I wonder if realized that using the words “interchangeable parts” at NC State would have been the equivalent of saying “your mother is a whore” to many State fans. Interesting that two major contenders for the coaching job used this philosophy. Perhaps just another reason that we can be very happy with who we got.

  12. PackerInRussia 10/20/2007 at 1:51 AM #

    P.S. How was “B-Ballin’ At The Old Barn” (whose name could have been much better if you just took away the first “B”)

  13. xphoenix87 10/20/2007 at 2:14 AM #

    I’ll say this about “B-Ballin’ at the Old Barn” (an absolutely awful name): J.J. Hickson is an absolute monster. In my first good look at him, I have to say that I’ll be shocked if he’s around for more than a year. He’s an absolute monster. Also, Tracy Smith can really get off the floor, he was one of the highlights of the layup/dunk line.

  14. Mr O 10/20/2007 at 6:43 AM #

    Agree on Hickson. Physically, he is a man among boys. He is big enough and strong enough that he might be the only player in the conference who can matchup with Hansbrough. He is tall, strong, quick, athletic, coordinated, etc…we may not have had a player this NBA ready coming out of HS since Chris Washburn(at least I can’t think of any). He might set a record for dunks this year as he can finish anything he catches near the basket with power. He is way over the rim on his dunks. He was in a shooting contest and I think he had the most points of anyone as he was hitting shots from all five spots(including the three point line). Good form on his shot and he looked like he can handle the ball fairly well.

    There was no scrimmage last night. Only some fullcourt drills running the break, so obviously this wasn’t seeing him in a game setting. I have been wondering all along if he was going to be good enough to warrant starting over some very good frontcourt players, but last night he looked like the best player on the team. He is for real…all doubts I had were erased after last night.

  15. RabidWolf 10/20/2007 at 7:31 AM #

    AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! YET ANOTHER WASHBURN REFERENCE!!!
    Let’s hope JJ is more smarter than “him”. :P

  16. ChemPack82 10/20/2007 at 9:17 AM #

    “I wonder if realized that using the words “interchangeable parts” at NC State would have been the equivalent of saying “your mother is a whore” to many State fans. Interesting that two major contenders for the coaching job used this philosophy. Perhaps just another reason that we can be very happy with who we got.”

    Agree…

  17. redfred2 10/20/2007 at 10:08 AM #

    ^Rabid, I AGREE!!! Compare him to NBA players or players from other programs. Hell, even UNC players, but not…

  18. redfred2 10/20/2007 at 10:33 AM #

    Mr O, I had seen clips and some of the McDonald’s game, so I haven’t had much doubt that even very early on, Hickson was going to factor into the equation. But thanks, it is definitely good to know that it’s that apparent in the setting that you described, and while in and among college level talent such as what we already have in place.

    This is going to be FUN!!!

  19. burnbarn 10/20/2007 at 10:42 AM #

    I went last night as well and since the McD game I have been saying he reminded me of Washburn except he is a couple inches shorter maybe.
    I never will forget Wash’s freshman year. I had never seen a big guy run the court like him with such ease. he was coordinated in all respects and already filled out.
    JJ is such a player with perhaps better perimeter skills.

  20. redfred2 10/20/2007 at 10:55 AM #

    Where is packgrad93?

    I wonder if he thinks it is proper etiquette for a player like Hickson to play as a freshman? Nah, probably not, that would be rude. This kid needs to waste a year of eligibility and “wait his turn” just like…and… and…all did in the past. After all, we’re just shooting for a bubble spot in the NCAA, wouldn’t want to cheat anyone else out of any PT just for the sake of winning some more basketball games. Besides, the other players on the team don’t really care about winning, they’re just concerned about their own individual playing time.

  21. redfred2 10/20/2007 at 11:02 AM #

    That’s it, I’m gone for the day, just thought I’d lob one in there before I signed off.

  22. Texpack 10/20/2007 at 11:38 AM #

    Basketball season is here at last. Hallelujah!!!!

  23. jwrenn29 10/20/2007 at 12:42 PM #

    I didn’t trust him, but was willing to overlook that if he could make us a winner. Then he didn’t take it, and Sid got the job and I wasn’t sure what to think. I was uncertain it was a good move, but it sure is a good move now!

  24. tooyoungtoremember 10/20/2007 at 1:47 PM #

    Calimari makes my skin crawl. IN SID WE TRUST!

  25. tractor57 10/20/2007 at 2:10 PM #

    I like my calimari fried not as a BB coach.
    In the end I was eternally grateful he wasn’t hired for the position.

    Sid “gets it” as opposed to calimari “wants it”.

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