In coach John Calipari’s recent mailbag video feature, he was asked which of his players could become a future coach. In true Calipari fashion, he didn’t discuss his current players with such hypotheticals, but did reveal an interesting opinion about what makes a good coach. And in true Calipari fashion yet again, the stereotypical “good coach” Cal describes sounds awfully familiar.
“It’s about having general knowledge, then having people skills, and then having a personality that you’re about everybody else,” Calipari said. “As long as you’re about your staff and your players, this job becomes a fun job.”
When it comes to current college basketball coaches, Calipari is the epitome of those three characteristics.
Coach Cal doesn’t say coaching requires specific knowledge or a strategic edge, only enough knowledge to get the job done. Calipari understands how a basketball game works, but he’s not the most tactically brilliant basketball mind in the world. Although his reputation as a floor coach is probably underrated, he’s made a few coaching mistakes in his day. That said, Calipari still finds a way to win with his general knowledge. He makes up any deficits by having the right players and eliciting the right attitudes.
There’s no one in college basketball with better people skills than John Calipari. He is the definition of likable. Charm and charisma weren’t spared in his creation, whether he’s dealing with players, fans, or the media. Coach Cal’s people skills become evident when one examines the way people speak of him. Anyone who knows Calipari personally has nothing but compliments to offer, and his players treat him like family. Cal’s people skills are manifested most distinctly in his ability to recruit. Unlike some awkward coaches, he is able to communicate with every player and create a trusting relationship with ease.
And when it comes to altruism, Calipari reigns. He always verbally reiterates his focus on his players’ success, but unlike many pretend-altruists, Calipari’s actions back up his promises. His ability to shepherd players into the NBA and comfortable lifestyles is unmatcehed, while his humanitarian efforts are enormous and widespread. Even after winning a championship, it still wasn’t about Coach Cal. “This is about them,” he said. “It’s not about me.”
It’s not really surprising that coach Cal fits his own description of a good coach. He’s trying to live up to his own expectations and demands, being the best there is at his job. The important part is that Calipari’s got it all figured out. Those are the three most important attributes of a college coach, and he’s doing a perfect job demonstrating them.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.