April 9, 2008
ATLANTA, Ga. - Two days after the Tigers' magical season ended with an NCAA championship game appearance, University of Memphis head coach John Calipari can add another honor to his already long list of accomplishments. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced Calipari as the 2007-08 Naismith National Coach of the Year.
It is the second time Calipari earned the national recognition, as he also received the Naismith award for the 1995-96 campaign while directing the UMass Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four. Calipari is only the second coach to win the Naismith Award twice since the honor's inception in 1987. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is the other coach to do so, taking home the award three times.
Connecticut's Geno Auriemma took home the Naismith Women's National Coach of the Year award.
Calipari took the Memphis hoops program to heights not seen in the Bluff City in quite some time, while also hitting some personal milestones in 2007-08. The Moon, Pa., native guided the Tigers to the NCAA Final Four, the program's first since 1985, and the NCAA title game, the school's first championship game appearance since 1973.
Memphis, under Calipari's guidance, won an NCAA Division I record 38 games (38-2 record) in advancing to the NCAA title contest. The Tigers, which began 2007-08 with a school-record 26-straight wins, moved into the No. 1 spot in the national polls in January and remained there for a school-record five-consecutive weeks. In fact, Memphis held down the No. 1 or No. 2 spots in the national polls for another school-record 16-straight weeks.
Calipari is also one of five coaches in NCAA Division I history to lead two different programs to a No. 1 national ranking (UMass, Memphis). The other four coaches to do so were Frank McGuire, Ralph Miller, Roy Williams and Eddie Sutton.
The 2007-08 Tigers also completed quite possibly one of the best three-year runs in NCAA Division I history. Memphis posted a 104-10 record since 2005-06 - all under Calipari - and the 104 victories are tied for the most in a three-year period in NCAA Division I history. The 104 wins also make Calipari the winningest coach in a three-year span in NCAA Division I history.
On Mar. 8, the Tigers defeated UAB to win their 30th game of 2007-08, and the victory placed Memphis and Calipari in elite company. The Tigers, 30-1 at that time, became the second program in NCAA Division I history to win 30 or more games three-straight seasons (Kentucky was the other program/1947-49, 1996-98). A week later, UCLA joined Memphis and Kentucky in that group. For Calipari, he became the second coach in NCAA Division I history to post three-consecutive 30-win seasons, joining Kentucky's Adolph Rupp who did it from 1947-49. A week later, UCLA's Ben Howland was the third coach to accomplish the feat.
In late February, Calipari won his 400th game as a collegiate head coach, and his overall record stands at 412-136. He is only the second head coach in the history of NCAA Division I basketball to reach the 400-win plateau in his first 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Roy Williams is the other coach to do so.
Calipari directed the Tigers to their third-straight C-USA regular season and tournament titles in 2007-08. It is the first time in the program's history that Memphis has claimed three-consecutive regular season and tournament crowns.
Calipari, who was named Conference USA Coach of the Year for the second time in three years (2006, 2008), was also a National Coach of the Year finalist for the Henry Iba and Jim Phelan Awards.