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By LARRY VAUGHT

With all the speculation in the Bluegrass about what the perception should, or should not, be of Kentucky coach John Calipari, I thought it might be interesting to get an outside, unbiased perspective.

So I asked Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook Editor Chris Dortch, who is respected nationally by coaches and media members, what he thought the national percpetion of Calipari was.

“Good question. He’s obviously a good coach, which most people have to acknowledge. I think critics are piling on after the second Final Four vacated under his watch. But the first one at UMass wasn’t his fault — even the NCAA ruled that UMass couldn’t have had knowledge about Marcus Camby dealing with an agent. And he wasn’t blamed in the Memphis deal with Derek Rose, either. Still, it looks bad and overshadows a lot of the good he’s done,” Dortch said.

What should the perception be?

“It’s hard to say. As I said, some of the issues have overshadowed what the man does best, which is coach. He also handles the other duties he has as a head coach better than most. He’s got good public relation skills,” Dortch said.

Agree? Disagree?

Myself, I give him an A for coaching and an A for public relations. Same for recruiting.

Until the NCAA does implicate him for wrongdoing, I think Dortch is right. The issues have overshadowed his coaching and that’s too bad because he’s certainly shown he can flat-out coach.

11 Responses to Dortch on perception of Calipari

  • tim says:

    Have you gotten anymore info on the article or alligations? Do you think this season will be able to be played without a cloud over it?

  • larryvaught says:

    I have heard some more rumors, but nothing I can verify. I think the season will unfortunately have rumors and rumblings spread all over. Just going to be a fact of life if UK starts winning.

  • Shadrap says:

    As an ex high school coach, I know what its like when you have a winning program and critics blast you with accusations of cheating. Before I had a winning program, I also knew what it was like to have other coaches want you for their homecoming opponent each year. Knowing both sides, I can tell you that I would rather be blasted for winning than to play so many dang blasted homecoming games. Great to have Coach Cal at Kentucky.

  • Jim Boyers says:

    Good article Larry. It’s always good to hear an objective party’s opinion on matters instead of all the full blown anti-Cal, anti-UK comments that get posted everywhere lately. I agree with you that Cal deserves all A’s for his body of work over the last 5 months. Like you, I hope all the new rumors are false and I will support Cal until someone proves that I shouldn’t. I think the rumors and “dark clouds” will be a fact of life as long as Cal is here. He has the unsubstantiated (to this point) reputation of being a “cheater”. To those who believe this, it will not matter what he does the rest of his career. Facts don’t get in the way of haters’ opinions. BBN is certainly strong enough to ignore the rhetoric and enjoy the unlimited possibilities for the future of the program.

  • larryvaught says:

    Great comments Shadrap. Sounds like you know what it is like to be on Cal’s end of the accusations. Appreciate you writing.
    And Jim you are right about some not letting facts get in the way of their feelings. Great advice about just enjoying the future

  • DaveR says:

    I’ll begin by saying that I am thrilled Cal is here, so I have no axe to grind. But from there, I want to view a D1 collegiate level basketball program in terms of it being a business, because clearly that’s exactly what it is. And rather than use “blame”, let’s focus on “responsibility”. So, if someone is dead set on finding fault with Cal, I think this is it – whether or not it’s his fault, it’s the CEO’s responsibility, period. Furthermore, it’s not a matter of “did you know” but rather “should you have known” or even “should someone on your staff have known”? And frankly, this is where the perceptions of something shady will make inroads, at least in my opinion. To be extremely blunt, I would almost expect that some critic with their own agenda may very well ask “So, were you dishonest or incompetent?”.

  • larryvaught says:

    Dave, one of the best posts I have seen here. Will be interested to see what others think. You make a very valid point about the CEO’s responsbility and one I think Cal would have to agree with. Again, will be interested to see what others think. Really insightful posts here today

  • Don says:

    Dave, I agree a very thought out analysis on Cal as head of the business of basketball. I to have considered whether he has been due diligent in running his programs or conveniently looks the
    other way. How thorough does he monitor his players and their eligibility ? I don’t know but I hope he does a better job at our school.

  • larryvaught says:

    That is a fair sentiment for every UK fan, Don

  • DaveR says:

    Thanks Larry and Don. And again, let me be clear. I think it’s physically impossible for a top executive to know everything, every time. That being the case, you have to hire the very best people you can and who are at the level where they DO know. Case in point (I think) is Sandy Bell. I have to believe that she has taken an enormous load off of Mitch, and will do so for Cal as well. So, to Don’s point also shared by many, I think she is our biggest asset to handle those issues.

  • larry says:

    Sandy is a workhorse, no doubt about that. Nothing slips by her

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