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Meeting Mrs. Coach Cal

When John Calipari was introduced in the spring as the new head coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats we quickly learned a lot about him, but that wasn't the case for his wife Ellen.

Recently Amber Philpott sat down with Coach Cal's better half to talk about life in Lexington, and her passion for something you might never expect.

In march we were first introduced to the Caliapri family.

While Coach Cal quickly garnered rock star status, his wife Ellen was quietly waiting in the shadows just where she likes it.

"We're about as opposite probably as you can be, as much as he's out there I'm hiding behind the scenes, some place else." says Ellen Calipari.

One place you will find her, in the stands cheering on the Wildcats.

She says her love for the game is an acquired one.

" Probably I have come to love it, I love it more I think on a personal level than for the sport of it. If I weren't around it I wouldn't miss it."

While Coach Cal keeps a crazy schedule on and off the court, Ellen has a bit less hectic day to day.

She is a normal mother of three who picks her son up daily from school.

"My job is to be a stay at home and try to you know give my kids a stable life with him being gone as much as he is."

Ellen's days have also been consumed with setting up a home.

"I think he may have even made an offer on it before i saw it in person."

The Calipari's chose a place right off of busy Richmond Road.

Ellen says they learned a long time ago being close to campus was important.

On any given day you can find a team of contractors building, sawing and renovating.

You might remember, much was made about their basketball court at their home in Memphis.

"We downsized instead of a full court we're doing a half court."

So if her husband loves basketball, what does Ellen Calipari do for fun?

" I do a lot of things, I sew, I do wood working stuff, I work in the yard, I paint rooms in the house, I like to bake, just normal things."

In the basement at the Calipari home there is a room set up especially for Ellen.

"So this is something most people would not know about you, what is this room?" says Amber Philpott.

"Its may play room, I have a scroll saw, jig saw, belt sander, table saw and router table."

That's right the first lady of UK basketball makes her own furniture, and it looks like it came straight from a catalog.

Ellen admits she wants her home to be cozy and players are always welcome.

"I don't push myself to be another mom to them, but I feel like I want them to be comfortable here, like a mom would be."

She has been impressed by the big blue nation, even overwhelmed at times.

"Its surreal, you can't really believe its that big as it is."

But it is, and its something this devoted mother and supportive wife is coming to love in her new life being a part of the Big Blue nation.

Part 2
Ellen Calipari is quiet and reserved, but completely devoted to her husband and his love of college basketball.

Amber Philpott recently sat down with her to get to know her first, but also to get the scoop on Coach Cal.

Ellen Calipari has been a basketball wife for many years now, choosing to stay out of her husband's spotlight.

"He's a normal guy, he's very good at what he does. He's very much a people person and I'm very much a private person." says Calipari.

When we met up with Ellen at her new home on Richmond Road she was busy making sure renovations were going as planned.

The Calipari home is certainly not tucked away from the public, so have any fans stopped by?

"Yes we have, even with the fence people still try to come up and get autographs."

With the upcoming season about to begin, Coach Cal has kept a grueling schedule.

We wanted to know is he superstitious about things?

" I think as his teams have gotten better, he's become less superstitious, but he is still very superstitious. I think as you get on a winning streak you don't know initially what you are doing and then you start to realize that you eat at the same place, you eat the same thing, you wear the same thing, so it can be anything at anytime."

Once she says her husband would only eat Wendy's chili on game days.

As for lucky charms?

"He does collect items, if he finds bobby pins and things like that, are a little crazy that he thinks is normal, we think is crazy."

Over the years, team after team, rituals have become something this coach's wife expects.

"We went through a tournament time when we were winning games that he wore the same two shirts, the same two ties and you don't take the suits to the cleaners because you might clean the luck off."

It is a lifestyle Ellen Calipari has come to love.

While her husband coach's the players on the court, she welcomes players into her home.

" They don't have families around so I try to get their birthdays, I try to recognize it with brownies, cookies or something."

While she might not be in the spotlight like her husband you will find her in the stands at home games, a part of the big blue nation.

"I get to know these kids, I like these kids and I know how much he demands of them. I have a lot of appreciation and respect for what they do.'


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