John Calipari was born February 10, 1959, in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Calipari began playing basketball at a young age and attended the University of North Carolina-Wilmington for two years before transferring to Clarion State. Calipari played basketball at both universities and graduated from Clarion State in 1982 with a degree in marketing. Calipari began coaching basketball not long after graduation. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas. In 1985 he became an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh, where he coached for three years.
His first head coaching position was at the University of Massachusetts in 1988. During his eight years at the University of Massachusetts he led the team to five consecutive Atlantic 10 conference titles, was named the Atlantic 10 coach of the year in 1992, 1993, and 1996, was the Naismith College coach of the year in 1996, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) coach of the year in 1996, and was the Basketball Times & Sporting News coach of the year. In 1996, Calipari took a job coaching the New Jersey Nets. He coached the Nets for three years before he was fired and took a job as an assistant coach at the Philadelphia 76ers for a year.
Calipari returned to coaching NCAA basketball in 2000 as the head coach for the University of Memphis. Calipari led the team to three Conference USA championships, was named the Conference USA coach of the year in 2006, 2008, and 2009. Calipari was awarded the Naismith College coach of the year again in 2008, and the NABC coach of the year a second time in 2009. In 2009, Calipari was also named the Sports Illustrated coach of the year and was awarded the Jim Phelan award. In 2009 Calipari began coaching at the University of Kentucky where he led the team to the SEC championship in 2010 and 2011 and an NCAA championship in 2012. Calipari was named SEC coach of the year in 2010 and 2012.
Entry: Calipari, John
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: January 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.