Lexington, KY: Celebrations for The University of Kentucky’s first NCAA National Championship since 1998 continued into a third day Wednesday, as hundreds of thousands of fans, armed to the tooth, wildly donned bullet proof vests and cowered in shelters and under tables all over the blood-spattered city of Lexington.
Not sharing in the celebrations however, was Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who had just won his first National Championship at Kentucky after stints as head coach at UMass and Memphis. Unlike the rest of Wildcat nation, a dejected and clearly somber coach Calipari felt that the soon to be vacated-for-cheating 38-2 record compiled by his young Wildcat team was just a stepping stone to his ultimate goal: a vacated undefeated season.
“2008 was great, and at the time, 33 vacated wins was a hell of an accomplishment, just a hell of an accomplishment,” said Calipari, referring to his 2007-2008 Memphis squad which made it all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Kansas. “But I truly felt that this year was my best chance of earning that vacated undefeated season. It’s a real shame that all the player-recruiting rules we worked so hard on breaking this year would have all been for nothing.”
Then led by current reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose, one of the two players (Marcus Camby of UMass being the other) whom Calipari proudly claims as his greatest cheating feats , Calipari’s 2008 Memphis Tigers team had its entire season record vacated that year. At the time, Calipari was beaming with pride after topping his own personal mark of vacated wins due to cheating, accomplished by the UMass Minutemen of 1996, which made it all the way to the Final Four that year.
”The dejection felt by these kids once they are stripped of their championship is going to be great,” explained a suddenly giddy coach Calipari. “The rush of disappointment will stay with them for many, many years. They are really excited about it and looking forward to the humiliation.”
Calipari, however, couldn’t help but feel that this Wildcat team, armed with at least 5 future NBA stars, was his golden opportunity to earn him that elusive vacated undefeated season.
“The two vacated losses this year are absolute killers, it’s brutal,” explained Calipari. “We so badly wanted that undefeated vacated season which nobody could ever top. That’s what we all came here to do.”
However, with one of the best recruiting classes in the country expected to arrive in Lexington for next season, Calipari remains optimistic about his next great opportunity to earn that undefeated vacated season.
“I’ll never stop cheating, never,” said Calipari. “At least not until I disappear over that horizon knowing that I can never be topped.”