In his push for an extravagant new practice facility, John Calipari called the University of Kentucky a “basketball school.”
Mark Stoops isn’t having it.
The Wildcats’ 10th-year head football coach took to Twitter on Thursday to fire back at comments Calipari made to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic during the basketball team’s exhibition tour of the Bahamas. In the report, Calipari told Tucker he thinks UK is a “basketball school” while advocating for a multi-use practice facility in the middle of campus.
“This is a basketball school. It’s always been that,” Calipari told Tucker. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. I mean, they are. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. At the end of the day, that makes my job easier and it makes The job of all of us is easier. But this is a basketball school. And so we need to keep moving in that direction and keep doing what we’re doing.”
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Tucker tweeted Calipari’s quote at 3:06 pm Thursday with a link to his report. Stoops quoted the tweet at 3:18 pm and wrote, “Basketball school? I thought we competed in the SEC? #4straightpostseasonwins.”
Those who thought Stoops might have been joking need only check his Twitter page to confirm otherwise.
After his initial tweet, the head coach retweeted a post from a 247Sports reporter calling Calipari’s comments “insulting.” Not long after, he retweeted a WKYT reporter who said, “The football team has had more success than basketball the last 4-5 years. Not even close.”
“#BBN begs to differ!” Stoops said in a follow-up tweet. “Don’t disrespect our great fans like that.”
Some of Stoops’ players, current and former, joined in on the smack talk. Junior cornerback Vito Tisdalewho is sidelined this season with an injury, tweeted, “@UKCoachCalipari check dis out, Y’all crapp .. we run the bluegrass yall boys went out first round to saint peters.”
Former punter Max Duffy took a similar approach: “Completely out of the blue question but has the Kentucky football team ever lost to St.Peters?”
When comparing the two programs, Stoops and company don’t have the national championships (eight), Final Four appearances (17), conference titles (33) and overall wins (2,355) to keep up with Calipari and Kentucky’s rich basketball history. That’s not to say the Wildcats haven’t made marked improvement on the gridiron since Stoops’ arrival.
Over the past five seasons, Kentucky football boasts a better winning percentage (42-23, 54%) than men’s basketball (131-48, 36%). Stoops’ teams have won for consecutive bowl games, while Calipari and company missed the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and had this season’s dance cut short by the 15th-seeded Peacocks.
Only time will tell if the coaching beef continues as Calipari continues his push for a new practice facility. He told The Athletic on Thursday that, if needed, he would raise the money himself — and check with some of his former players who have gone on to lucrative NBA careers to see if they’d be willing to donate to the cause.
“The administration should be like, we’re doing this,” Calipari told The Athletic. “How about the state? If this is the University for Kentucky, and it’s the basketball program for the state, which it is, how about the state says, ‘We’re in. We’re gonna invest.’ I’ll tell you right now, Anthony Davis gave $350,000 on a text to me (for flood relief). all have.”
As to when Calipari and Stoops may address these comments, the former isnt coaching during the Bahamas tour and will not be made available to the media during the next several days. Stoops will be available Saturday after UK wrap up a fall camp practice.
Reach recruiting and trending sports reporter Brooks Holton at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @brooksHolton.