New UK coach John Calipari is set to hire former Wildcats Tony Delk and Scott Padgett. Calipari, speaking to TV cameras on Thursday, said he wanted to help jump start their coaching careers.
"What I'm basically doing is helping them get started with their careers. If you want to get started in this profession, I will help you," Calipari said.
Delk was an All-American at Kentucky, leading the Cats to the 1996 NCAA Championship under Rick Pitino. Delk was named the Final Four's MVP. He was a 1st-round draft pick of the Charlotte Hornets that June.
Padgett was recruited to UK by Pitino, but helped Tubby Smith to an NCAA title during his first year as coach, in 1998. Padgett was drafted in the 1st-round by the Utah Jazz in 1999.
Both have impeccable credentials -- solid NBA careers, both are of high character. You'd be hard pressed to find two better representatives of the university's athletic program.
"What happens with guys like that," Calipari said, "is they're in positions of assistant strength coach or assistant equipment manager. This is not a money thing."
Calipari said he recently met Padgett, but has known Delk a few years. Mike Woodson, the coach of the Atlanta Hawks, called Calipari and recommended Delk be invited to Coach Cal's retreat, which he holds annually and is geared around family and friends.
When John Calipari opened the doors to practice on Wednesday for the media, we were greeted with players wearing blue Nike t-shirts. Emblazoned with "Witness" across the chest, the shirts were in celebration of Jodie Meeks' 54-point performance at Tennessee.
On the back of the shirt, were a series of numbers, representing the points scored by Meeks (1=free throw, 2=field goal, 3=three-pointer).
Why then, were the Cats just getting the shirts, nearly three months to the day that Meeks exploded against the Vols? Seems former coach Billy Gillispie didn't want the players to wear them, so they were never handed out. In fact, the Wildcats didn't know about the t-shirts until Wednesday.
Gillispie still hasn't given the game balls to Meeks or Patrick Patterson that commemorate their joining the 1,000 point club. Here's hoping UK will right that wrong, as well.
It's a girl!
Congratulations are in order for WKYT sports anchor Christi Thomas. She and hubby Jason McGuire are expecting their first child this fall and we're learning it's a girl.
No word yet if UK coach Matthew Mitchell already has begun the recruiting process.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.