Job loss. Foreclosure. Relationship woes. Health issues. Dire financial straits. If recent history has taught us anything, it's that nobody goes through life unscathed -- no matter how rich, how smart, how talented, or how fortunate they may be. White collar, blue collar, or no collar, there is an undeniable commonality to the raw emotion that strikes people when they are knocked down.
University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has seen the bottom - from two very distinct and very public setbacks -- but he has learned that bad situations are only permanent if you allow them to be. Fired from his job as head coach 20 games into his third season with the NBA's New Jersey Nets in 1999, Calipari was publicly humiliated and emotionally devastated. But Calipari never allowed the negative to overcome him or those around him, and he began plotting a course for his first bounce back. It was a journey that took him to the University of Memphis and, in 2008, to the NCAA's marquee event, the men's basketball Final Four.
When that trip culminated in a crushing, overtime defeat in the title game, Calipari began to bounce back again -- this time armed with the knowledge and fortitude he gained in overcoming the Nets' firing. One year after that defeat, from where he watched his team lose a nine-point lead with two minutes and twelve seconds left in regulation, Calipari was tabbed as the head coach of college basketball's all-time winningest program, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In ten years, he went from his lowest low to landing his dream job at a dream program.
What Coach Cal -- as players, peers, and fans affectionately call him -- learned from his experiences was the importance of having the right attitude when dealing with life's major impediments: with every hard knock comes an occasion to reevaluate and reinvent. Now Coach Cal asks that you join his team of Bounce Backers and allow him the privilege of coaching you through what may, at times, seem to be an insurmountable challenge. With a combination of tough love and understanding, Coach Cal takes you under his wing in much the same fashion he guides the young men who play for him. By becoming an active participant in your own resurrection -- through practice exercises and tips from Coach Cal and his deep bench of highly successful people who have survived their own bounce backs -- you too will gain the tools and insight to understand that it's never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it's about how high you bounce back.
John Calipari is the current head coach of the University of Kentucky’s men's basketball and a veteran of nearly 20 college seasons at the University of Memphis and the University of Massachusetts. Widely regarded as one of the greatest program builders in all of college basketball, Calipari's teams have earned 11 conference titles, 12 NCAA Tournament berths and two Final Fours. Of his past three point guards, two have been NBA Rookie of the Year and the third, John Wall, was Washington’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He received the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award for the 1995-1996 and 2007-2008 seasons, as well as the Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year honor for 2008-09.
Calipari’s first season in The Bluegrass State saw a complete rejuvenation of the program that had fallen from its perch atop college basketball. With the nation’s best freshman class entering for 2010-11, the Wildcats will again be in the thick of the race on the road to the Final Four. Calipari and his wife, Ellen, have three children, Erin, Megan, and Bradley. You can learn more about Coach Cal, “Bounce Back” and the Calipari Family Foundation for Chidlren (CFFC) on his website: www.coachcal.com and by following him on Twitter: @UKCoachCalipari and on Facebook at “John Calipari.”
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