Is Coach Cal building a Hall of Fame case?

Interesting story over the weekend from Ron Chimelis of The Republican, who writes that John Calipari is building a Hall of Fame case.

Rules require 25 years of coaching to be eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Coach Cal began coaching in 1988 at Massachusetts, meaning he’d be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013.

So, is Calipari, with more than 500 on-court wins, three Final Four appearances and countless former players in the pros, worthy of consideration? The only thing missing to this point is a national championship. Chimelis makes a case for him in this weekend’s story.

This man is a Hall of Fame caliber coach, though, and it should not take an NCAA title to establish that.

A title would be a shining part of anyone’s portfolio. It should not be a make-or-break line item for judging an entire career.

For as long as Calipari is without one, though, future voters will have a a loophole to avoid taking a long, hard look at a very complex candidacy.

Calipari has a shot to win it all this year. He has a shot every year, despite constantly losing star players after their freshman seasons.

Embracing the concept of taking players for a year, knowing in advance they would leave, has opened Calipari to criticism. So what’s new?

“I don’t like one-and-done, but if it were my son with the (NBA) opportunity, I’d say, go,” Calipari said at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

“People would want their own sons to go. They would want everybody else’s sons to stay.”

Calipari, 52, is young enough to collect a ridiculous number of victories. He is a far better coach than many current Hall of Famers.

Building UMass into a national power was one of the greatest jobs of coaching architecture in NCAA history.

If Chimelis had a vote, would he put Calipari in the Hall of Fame? He says yes.

My answer is this: if my son were good enough to play, I would trust him in John Calipari’s hands, absolutely and without hesitation.

Maybe he enter would the NBA Draft after his freshman year, if he were that good. If he wanted to chase down that degree later on, I know that no one would help him more than Coach Cal.

I would vote for John Calipari. Yes.

The legacy will wait. For now, he has his team, and on Saturday, it looked great.

“I hope the NBA goes out (on its lockout) for three years,” Calipari said.

“That way, I’ll have these guys for three years, and they’ll win a lot of titles. But all I really want is for our players to reach their dreams.”  

Read the full story here.