On Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky, things became a bit heated, and it wasn’t an SEC rival that stirred up controversy. It was the school’s head basketball coach John Calipari taking a subtle shot at the school’s football program led by Mark Stoops.
While in the Bahamas with his team, Calipari made a comment concerning what he feels is a need for the school to build a new basketball practice facility. In that comment, per Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, Coach Cal referred to “Big Blue Nation” as a basketball school, which is a slight to its promising football program led by Mark Stoops.
“This is a basketball school,” Calipari said. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. But this is a basketball school.”
What Coach Cal said isn’t a lie, as the Wildcats have a legendary basketball program. As for the football program, they’ve become respectable under head coach Stoops.
Stoops offered his opinion on the comments.
“Basketball school? I thought we competed in the SEC?” said Stoops.
He finished by saying, “four straight postseason wins.”
Football Program Has Become More Consistent Than Basketball Program
The football team is coming off its second ten-win season under Stoops, while the basketball program has consistently underachieved under Coach Cal. When you consider all the five-star NBA prospects they land yearly, Kentucky’s lack of NCAA tournament success of late is concerning.
In fact, Coach Cal has just one national championship during his tenure and that came way back in 2012 during NBA superstar Anthony Davis’ only season in Lexington. And if memory serves us, his 2021-22 team was upset in the first round of the NCAA Tourney by Shaheem Holloway and March Madness Cinderella Saint Peter’s.
Completely out of the blue question but has the Kentucky football team ever lost to St.Peters? 💙
— Max Duffy (@Max__Duffy) August 11, 2022
Coach Cal could’ve saved that unnecessary subtle dig as he tries to maneuver for a new practice facility. Anyone who watches sports knows that at places like Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas basketball is the school’s lifeline. But there was no need for him to throw shade on the program Stoops has successfully elevated.
Coach Cal must be feeling the heat and doesn’t like the new competition.
This Should Blow Over: But If Football Has A Great Season It Will Be Rehashed
As the Wildcats football program prepares to embark on their 2022 season, expectations are pretty high in Lexington. Optimistic analysts are picking Kentucky to finish second in the SEC East behind defending national champion Georgia. The Wildcats even received the third-most preseason first place votes in the entire 14-team conference with four. Only Alabama (177) and UGA (172) had more.
I’m case you thought this Twitter back-and-forth was a joke. Also worth noting, even at Kentucky football generates more revenue than men’s basketball. pic.twitter.com/r914V3iwyW
— Jon Hale (@JonHale_HL) August 11, 2022
Will the Wildcats live up to the hype? Only time will tell. Under Stoops they’ve had three first-round picks in linebackers Bud Dupree, Josh Allen and Jamin Davis. In all, 21 players have been drafted, including 10 on the first two days of the draft. So he is developing pros for sure. After beginning his tenure at 12-26 Stoops has gone 47-27 in his last 74 games. Not bad for a dormant program that deserves much more respect from the basketball program’s head coach.