KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Already a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari will join another distinguished list when he’s awarded the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Metropolitan Award at the Final Four on Sunday, April 1.
Calipari (pictured) was recently selected as the 2018 recipient of the storied award and will join basketball legends John Wooden, Dean Smith and Phog Allen, among others, as winners of the award. Kentucky greats Adolph Rupp and C.M. Newton have won the award as well, in 1966 and 1995, respectively.
The award will be presented to Calipari at the annual NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Lila Cockrell Theater in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, site of the 2018 Final Four. The awards show will be streamed live on Facebook.
The Metropolitan Award, presented by Nike, has a long and storied history, which began in New York City. The Metropolitan Basketball Association presented its first Metropolitan Award in 1941 to legendary City College of New York coach Nat Holman and followed that a year later with Ned Irish, who first brought college basketball to Madison Square Garden.
The honor certainly won’t be Calipari’s first major national award. In addition to being enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, Calipari has accumulated the following national and conference honors throughout his 26-year college coaching career:
--Three-time NABC National Coach of the Year
--Three-time Naismith National Coach of the Year
--Three-time Sporting News National Coach of the Year
--Two-time Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year
--Nine-time conference coach of the year (league or media in Atlantic 10, Conference USA or Southeastern Conference)
--2015 Associated Press National Coach of the Year
--2012 Nell & John Wooden Coach of the Year Leadership Award
--2009 Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught