Planning Ahead, Staying Put
While all this recent talk about scheduling is exciting enough- I’m totally game for a road trip to Texas in 2013- there’s another upside to Calipari’s long term scheduling talks: it definitively proves he’s not going anywhere, least of all the NBA.
With rumors refusing to die about Calipari getting courted by the Heat, his scheduling announcement and insta-soundbyte of “I want to create experiences, not games” comes at a perfectly reassuring time for UK fans. The Dallas Cowboys Stadium game in 2013 gives us at least two years of buffers against departure speculations, and it also sends a message to recruits (hello, Harrison twins!) that Cal’s in a long-term relationship with UK.
There’s also yet another aspect to Calipari’s scheduling method/madness. To paraphrase Stone Cold Willow, Calipari is setting his successor up for success. His multi-year deals with UNC and Duke guarantee that UK basketball will be perceived as a premiere team for the next several years, and the precedent he’s setting with playing in a football dome every year ensures that UK teams and fans will EXPECT to be playing in the Final Four every year. When Cal’s contract expires in 2018-2019, there will be no reason to immediately panic about the state of the basketball program because it’ll be a finely tuned machine by then. While the coach will obviously still be important to the success of the team, he or she will have an easier time stepping into a role in a healthy program (as compared to how much house-cleaning Cal had to do after Billy left us in shambles).
So even though his affinity for one-and-dones may suggest that Calipari embraces immediacy and the short-term, his scheduling practices prove that he’s planning ahead for UK basketball as well. Once again, Calipari has the program’s best interests at heart, and I thank Bill Keightley every day that we found such a perfect fit for our coaching position.