John Calipari’s first head coaching job during his Hall of Fame career was at the University of Massachusetts, and the school is set to honor him for his success there.
UMass announced Monday that it plans to erect a statue of Calipari outside the Mullins Center on Sept. 11. Statues of star players Julius Erving and Marcus Camby, as well as former coach Jack Leaman, will also be unveiled.
Calipari had a remarkable run at UMass between 1988 and 1996, succeeding despite a lack of top recruits. He led UMass to the Final Four in 1996, though the appearance was later vacated after it was found that Camby previously accepted gifts from agents. The fact that both Calipari and Camby are being honored this way is a clear indication that UMass has long since moved on from the incident.
Calipari and UMass appear to have mutual warmth between them after over two decades. The same can’t be said for another of his former coaching spots, but this honor should be well-received.