WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– It was a homecoming of sorts for Kentucky Men’s Basketball coach John Calipari on Thursday night at the Burney Center. The Hall of Fame head coach was the keynote speaker at the 4th annual UNCW Men’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner.
Calipari started his college basketball playing career in Wilmington for the Seahawks. He spent two years at UNCW from 1978-1980 playing in 25 games. He says he comes back to Wilmington every year and there will always be a connection with his first college teammates.
“16 or 17 of the guys I played with at UNCW are here tonight,”said Calipari. “We always stay in touch many of them have come out Lexington and visited over the years.”
Calipari success and stardom has come as a coach at the University of Kentucky. While in Lexington Calipari has 305 wins, 31 NCAA tournament wins, 8 Sweet Sixteens, 7 Elite Eights, 4 Final Fours, and a National Championship. UNCW Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass says this event was something that not only benefited the University, but Calipari as well.
“Its a tremendously significant event not only for the basketball program and the university, but for John Calipari,”said Bass. It really has turned into a nice homecoming and big family reunion for John.”
Calipari owns a career coaching record of 708-209 (.772), including a mark of 305-71 (.811) at Kentucky. He has coached teams to 15 conference championships and a 51-17 (.750) NCAA Tournament record. He was a 2015 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.