LEXINGTON, Ky. – Already named the National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Sporting News, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari (pictured) picked up another prestigious honor for leading the undefeated Wildcats to a 38-0 season, entering the Final Four, when he was named the Associated Press National Coach of the Year on Friday.
It’s the first time in Calipari’s illustrious career he has been named AP Coach of the Year. He’s the third UK coach to win the AP honor, joining Eddie Sutton (1986) and Tubby Smith (2003 and 2005).
Calipari, now in his sixth season at Kentucky, has led UK to a second straight Final Four this season and the fourth in the last five years. Kentucky is the first team to enter the Final Four undefeated since 1991. Calipari’s 2014-15 Wildcats have tied his 2007-08 Memphis team and his 2011-12 national championship Kentucky team’s NCAA Division I record for single-season wins (38) with last week’s Elite Eight win over Notre Dame on Saturday. UK is the first team in NCAA Division I history to post a 38-0 record. Kentucky has spent 19 straight weeks at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 this season, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. UK now owns the NCAA Division I record for most appearances at No. 1 in the AP poll in a single season at 19.
UK also set the school record for home wins with 19 this season.
Earlier this week, Calipari won NABC Coach of the Year honors for the third time in his career. Only legendary UCLA head coach John Wooden, with five, has won more. Calipari was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the AP for the third time in his career earlier this season. He is also one of four finalists for the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year. The 56-year-old is one of 12 finalists eligible to go in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. The Class of 2015 will be announced on Monday at a press conference in Indianapolis, prior to the national championship game.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught