Calipari using "Bounce Back" for current Cats, Memphis situation

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

UK coach John Calipari says he was chomping at the bit to start the season with his new team. Coach Cal got his wish on Wednesday, the first day of classes, and the first day he was allowed to practice his team.

UK coach John Calipari says he was chomping at the bit to start the season with his new team. Coach Cal got his wish on Wednesday, the first day of classes, and the first day he was allowed to practice his team.

The Wildcats went through individual workouts at the Joe Craft Center. Calipari told 27 SportsFirst the he’s pumped about working with his first UK team.

“The first group has a real problem, because I’m so excited right now. I’ll probably bury the first group and I’ll be a little tired on the second,” Calipari said.

The coach soon will begin a book signing tour and was talking to our own Dave Baker about “Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life.” Calipari said he used real-life experiences to inspire readers.

One example occurred while he was coaching at Massachusetts. Calipari said a local newspaper story claimed UMass was using ineligible players. The coach said the story proved to be untrue and those players named in the article sued the school for releasing private information and won.

In the past week, Calipari’s been blasted nationally after the NCAA ruled earlier that Memphis must forfeit their NCAA-record 38 wins in 2007-08 and the school’s appearance in the Final Four.

“I’m getting hit. All of a sudden, it’s like out of nowhere. BOOM! What in the world just hit me? I have to re-read the book again about staying positive.”

“I’m coaching here at Kentucky. I can’t control things around me, what people say and think. All I know is what I’ve got to do here,” Calipari said.

Calipari referenced his book several times as he spoke about the Memphis situation and those who question his legacy when his coaching career is over.

“My legacy will be decided when I’m done coaching and not alive,” Calipari said. “And the people that are emotional, and have an agenda, they’re not alive either.”

“Hopefully, my legacy will be left by the assistants, the players and the people around; what Ellen and I did in communities we lived in; what we try to do for other people. Not what someone thinks of me personally,” he continued.

Calipari defended his time at UMass and Memphis, schools that now have both vacated Final Four appearances under his watch.

“I’m proud of what we did at UMass. I’m proud that we graduated 80 percent of our kids,” Calipari said. “I’m proud of what we did at Memphis. 19 of our last 23 seniors graduated. We graduated 25 players in a 9-year period, when over a 10-year period prior, no one graduated. It was a zero percent graduation rate.”

Calipari said he’ll once again dip back into the book as he approaches his first season at UK. He wants his team to ignore the hype that surrounds one of the country’s most-scrutinized and watched programs.

“I’m going to have to teach this team to have amnesia,” he said. “You can’t worry about having a bad day. You’ve got to go on to the next day. This program has so much hype around it, you can’t drink the poison. You can’t buy into it.”

Calipari and his Cats play Campbellsville in an exhibition game on November 2.

Here’s a look at Calipari’s book signing tour:

Saturday, August 29

11 AM to 1 PM Event at the University of Kentucky campus bookstore
106 Student Center Annex
Lexington, KY 40506

6 PM to 8 PM Event at the Joseph Beth
161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY 40503

Monday, September 1

7 PM to 9 PM Event at Barnes and Noble
Hamburg Place
Lexington, KY

Wednesday, September 2

5 PM to 7 PM Event at Barnes & Noble
1680 Campbell Lane
Bowling Green, KY 42104

Thursday, September 3
11 AM to 1 PM Event at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center - Pikeville

5 PM to 7 PM Event at Kroger
370 Deidrich Blvd.
Ashland, KY 41101

Sunday, September 6
4 PM to 6 PM Event at Kroger
525 Marsailles Road
Versailles, KY 40383
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.
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