Memphis Cancels Event Honoring John Calipari After Uproar

John Calipari
The Associated Press

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inducts John Calipari into its august body on Saturday. The University of Memphis does not figure to honor its former coach anytime soon.

After initially announcing a celebration to honor its former coach late last year, the University of Memphis rescinded its event. The about-face comes in the wake of outrage from fans, alumni, faculty, and others. The NCAA vacated the Memphis Tigers’ 2007-2008 season, in which Calipari led the team to the national title game, and Coach Cal poached several Memphis recruits when he took the Kentucky job in 2009.

Unlike in Calipari’s 1996 Final Four appearance with UMass, the NCAA did not implicate him in the Memphis violations for the 2008 season that saw the Tigers play for the tournament championship. Calipari’s pursuit of one-and-done players that move to the NBA after a season at the college level makes him a controversial figure.

Calipari won a national title in 2012 as coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. The Memphis Tigers received invitations to, and early exits from, four NCAA tournaments since Calipari’s 2009 departure.