Calipari previously won the Naismith Coach of the Year Award at the University of Massachusetts in 1996 and the University of Memphis in 2008, and joins Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as the only three-time winners of the award. Calipari was among a group of finalists that also included University of Virginia’s Tony Bennett, the 2007 winner from Washington State University, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Jay Wright from Villanova, who was the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2006.
Calipari was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which based its criteria on the coaches’ performances throughout the 2014-15 college basketball season. First created in 1987, Indiana’s Bob Knight claimed the inaugural award.
“It was a historic season for Kentucky, and it starts at the top with John and his staff,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “To not only recruit tremendous talent, but to coach them in a way where everybody buys into the team concept is simply remarkable. Winning his third Naismith Award, with a different school each time, further accentuates his superb coaching skills and validates him as a top coach in college basketball.”
“A coaching award is a staff award, and we are all celebrating these awards that are coming our way together because of the way these players have allowed us to coach them,” Calipari said. “The Naismith award is one of the first national coaching awards I received back in 1996 and holds a special place with me. When I heard that I was a finalist, I was excited just because it’s a reflection of how hard this staff and how hard our players have worked. To be able to get this prestigious award at three different schools is an honor, and I want to thank the Naismith committee for this award.”
ABOUT THE WINNER:
• Calipari led the Wildcats to its best start in school history (38-0), best start for an SEC team, longest overall winning streak in school history and his personal overall longest winning streak. The team reached the Final Four and finished the season 38-1
• The SEC coach of the year guided Kentucky to a perfect 31-0 overall regular-season record, including an 18-0 mark in the league.
• Kentucky won its 46th SEC conference championship. The Wildcats also won the SEC Tournament Championship.
• Calipari is one of only two coaches to take three different programs -- UMass, Memphis and Kentucky -- to the Final Four a total of six times, and his 2012 UK team won the NCAA title.
The vote was tabulated by the certified public accounting firm Habif, Arogeti &Wynne, LLP, the largest tax, audit and business advisory firm headquartered in Georgia. Habif, Arogeti &Wynne is the 51st largest CPA firm in the nation and has been recognized as a 2014 "Best of the Best" firm by INSIDE Public Accounting.