John Caliparis’ remark that Kentucky is a “basketball school” has reportedly angered people in the university’s athletic department, particularly football fans trying to help the program gain a foothold in the SEC.
And especially football coach Mark Stoops.
Calipari made his comments this week when discussing the need for a new practice facility for his men’s basketball program (the current one opened in 2007). He made a claim that many objective observers might agree with, but has reportedly angered some Wildcat supporters.
“This is a basketball school. It always has been,” Calipari said. “Alabama is a football school. Georgia too. I mean they are. No disrespect to our soccer team. I hope they win 10 games and go bowling.
“At the end of the day, it makes my job easier and that of all of us. But this is a basketball school. And that’s why we need to keep moving in that direction and doing what we’re doing. ”
MORE: Mark Stoops calls out coach John Calipari on Twitter over ‘basketball school’ remark
Those comments angered Stoops, who responded in kind on Twitter. According to Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones, Stoops — who has been with the program since 2013 and has guided the school to four straight bowl wins and two 10-win seasons — felt Calipari undermined his efforts to build the program.
“Stoops is like, ‘I’ve had to fight this for 10 years,'” Jones said on his show. “I’m friends with the staff, I’ve asked them before what’s the biggest thing you have to work on? ‘Everywhere we go they say Kentucky, isn’t that a basketball school?’
“Literally, I’m not sure there’s a phrase you could say that would make Mark Stoops angrier than that.”
Calipari tweeted Saturday that he reached out to Stoops and said it was “my fault” to compare Kentucky’s programs to other schools. His tweet suggests he failed to get in touch.
Now I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for 30 years: coach my team and block out the clutter.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 13, 2022
Jones claimed Friday that Caliparis’ comments upset more people than Stoops.
“It really upset a lot of people in football,” Jones said. “You can believe it or not, that’s okay. But there were some really angry people. Not only in the staff, but also in the donor world. (Calipari) made a mistake and now he has to fix it because they were really upset about it.
“In a way, the tweet was just the tip of the iceberg.”
At the moment the ball is in Stoops’ hands. For Calipari, as he put it, appears to have put the incident behind him.