John Calipari will not be honored by the University of Memphis.
According to USA Today’s For The Win, the University’s president David Rudd apologized to the university community on Thursday, saying he had cancelled the University’s plans to honor their former basketball coach after receiving extensive backlash from the fans and community.
Calipari coached the Tigers from 2000 to 2009 and led them to the 2008 national title game. In 2009, he transferred to the University of Kentucky. Memphis had been planning on honoring Calipari at a dinner on December 28. At the time, Rudd called it a “great homecoming” for the coach but then had to backpedal after all of the criticism he received.
“Will be honoring Hall of Fame coach
@UKCoachCalipari in Memphis, Dec 28-29. Stay tuned for details. Will be a great homecoming,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Not long after, he wrote, “Looks like my tweet has generated a few responses. Some pretty funny, all very passionate. I’ll read them all, appreciate the passion.”
Yesterday, Rudd issued his official statement to the University and the community, saying he had cancelled the dinner.
“I apologize for the unnecessary upset, embarrassment and genuine distress generated by the issue of honoring Coach John Calipari on the occasion of his installation into the College Basketball Hall of Fame,” Rudd wrote.
Here is my response to our University and Community. pic.twitter.com/A8yx1ZlVDd
— Dr. M. David Rudd (@UofMemphisPres) September 10, 2015
Following Rudd’s initial announcement, John Calipari also took to Twitter to thank him for deciding to honor him and all he did at the school during his nine years as a coach there.
“I appreciate UMass and Memphis for deciding to honor what we were able to accomplish,” he tweeted. “Mass gave me my first opportunity and Memphis revived my career. I have a special place in my heart for both Amherst and Memphis. Ellen and I have made so many friends and created relationships with so many people at both schools that we will forever cherish.”
On Thursday, John Calipari received his Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame jacket along with the 10 other members of the 2015 class, Sporting News reports. During a press conference following the ceremony, he talked about his excitement for the upcoming season.
“I’m really excited to coach this team I have. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun,” he said. “We’ve got great guards. I didn’t say good guards, and I’m not one to throw stuff around. I think our big people are going to be, in time… we have good wings. So I’m ready to get going with this team.”
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]