John Calipari Impressions, PART ONE

Joe Hall still isn't sure how John Calipari got his cell phone number or what impression, if any, he made on Calipari when the two talked before Calipari officially accepted the job at the University of Kentucky.

Joe Hall still isn't sure how John Calipari got his cell phone number or what impression, if any, he made on Calipari when the two talked before Calipari officially accepted the job at the University of Kentucky.

However, not only did Calipari's call impress Hall personally, but it helped convince him there was no doubt Calipari fully understood what being the coach of the UK basketball program meant.

"I think it was a good PR move on his part to call all the former (UK) coaches and even some players before he took the job," said Hall, who led UK to the 1978 national championship and two other Final Four appearances. "What he wanted from me was how he could fit in and how he could adjust to this program.

"He was very much aware of the pluses and I did not have any minuses to give him. He talked about how hard it was to leave his players he had recruited and friends he and his family had made in nine years at Memphis. That was tough for him, and I could understand that. But again he recognized what the program was like here at Kentucky and what this opportunity would give him.

"The last thing I said to him was, ‘Think of this as a step up. If you want to keep moving forward, this is the way to do.' Then he asked if there were any last messages or anything he should know. I said, ‘Bring players. You can use some players.'"

Based on what he did at Memphis, where he won 30 or more games the last four years, that won't be a problem.



Check back tomorrow for more on this series of articles, which appeared in last month's issue of KSR, teh magazine. Sign up for Kentucky Sports Report, the magazine, today. It is filled with great articles and glossy photographs of all things Wildcats.

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