18 Leadership Quotes From Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

The March 14th issue of Sports Illustrated featured a profile of Kentucky Wildcats head basketball coach John Calipari.  Though controversial, you cannot argue with the success of this coach who has been to two Final Fours and produced six current Division I head coaches.  The following are the leadership quotes contained in the S.L. Price article.

All quotes are from Coach Calipari unless otherwise noted.

  1. Integrity is really lacking [in college basketball].  We’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation, and he’s still coaching.  I really don’t understand that.” – ESPN’s Bob Knight
  2. “Everything in this game is marketing.”
  3. “The way he dresses, the way he talks nonstop.  A lot of people look at that shtick and say, ‘That guy is not real.'” – Larry Brown
  4. “Whatever rules you play by, that man is going to be successful.” – William Wesley
  5. “John has embraced what the college fan has not: the one-and-done player.” – Billy Packer
  6. “Cal can talk to anyone; he can think you’re the worst person in the world, and he’ll make you feel you’re the greatest.” – Mark Coleman
  7. “If you have to stay on the phone three hours (with a recruit) and hear the same story 15 times, that’s what you do.” – Coleman
  8. “I know I’m not a saint but I’m not the guy I’m made out to be by others…Hopefully, I’ve done things the right way and treated people right.”
  9. “There are times I get mad and want to strangle somebody, and then I go to Mass and say, Stop me from having this feeling that I want to absolutely punch this guy in the face.  I’m from Pittsburgh.  You come at me?  I come at you twice.  You hurt one of mine?  I’m burning your village.”
  10. “John just had an unbelievable desire to learn, get better.  He was a basketball junkie, like me, and he would do whatever I asked.” – Larry Brown on Calipari as a young coach.
  11. “Put five guys in a pitch-black room where nobody knows where the doors are and say ‘Find a way out.’ John Calipari’s going to get out first.  That’s why you go with him.” – Frank Marino
  12. I admire him and he knows that.” – former bitter enemy Don Chaney
  13. Love is an action.  You’ve got to show it.  That’s what Cal’s done for his players, his coaches, and he continues to do it.  If you call me and you have a son and you say ‘Who would you recommend?  I’m going to say there’s one coach I trust impeccably.” – Wesley
  14. I’m losing a lot of players to Kentucky.” – Louisville head coach Rick Pitino
  15. “Look, in this profession it’s all about building relationships…If you’re not being fair with kids, guess what?  All those people over time build up too, and they’re working against you.”
  16. “You’re responsible for everything.  It’s just hard to be held accountable for everything.”
  17. “Are there times that there’s envy and jealousy in our profession – and in me?  Yes but I don’t want to feel what way.”
  18. “I do not pray for myself.  I do not.  Well, I do a little bit.”

Coach Cal, it’s OK to pray for yourself.  We should all pray for ourselves…a little bit.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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