Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari promised Wildcats fans today that he would bring the program a national title that will quickly be stripped by the NCAA within the next five years.
"I know taking a program to the top and then destroying in such a short time is a bold goal," said Calipari. "But I am confident I can do it. I feel my whole career has been preparing me for this goal."
Calipari has almost done it before. He took UMass to a Final Four in 1996, although that appearance was later vacated due to payments made by an agent to star center Marcus Camby. In 2008 he took Memphis to a Final Four, the championship game and to within seconds of a national title. But that season's accomplishments were completely wiped from the record books due to the Tigers using an ineligible player: star point guard Derrick Rose, whose SAT exam was taken by someone else.
Calipari says the Memphis lost hurt the most.
"I knew we were going to have that whole season vacated eventually because we cheated our asses off," he said. "But we would have had something to show for it had we won the title. Losing in the last seconds meant we had nothing. They can take a win wins, but they can never take away the pride you feel in your heart over fraudulent success."
With that bitter taste in his mouth — and a new $31.65 million contract lining his pockets — Calipari is more determined than ever to cheat his way to a title.
"I will cut every corner, not dot any I's, not cross any T's," he said. "I was brought here to win a title and I will do anything to make it happen — and fast. The NCAA is a completely toothless organization, but even they might kick me out at some point. So I have to get moving."
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart is excited about Calipari's vow and determination.
"A vacated NCAA title — wow, that would be awesome!" he said. "It's hard enough to win an NCAA title as is, winning one on the up-and-up is almost impossible. That's why we brought Coach Cal in. We think he has the right mix of basketball smarts and total lack of ethics to bring us the trophy. So what that the NCAA will take it back soon after? We'll make replicas."
Calipari says his first step is improving the talent at Kentucky.
"Lebron James is a free agent after this season and he has all of his college eligibility left," said Calipari. "I think I can get him here. I think he'll be interested to learn that, unlike in the NBA, my players aren't subjected to a salary cap."