5 head coaches Kentucky fans would dream of if John Calipari leaves

Kentucky's Round of 64 loss to Oakland felt like the end of an era, and if it truly was, then who could the Wildcats bring to Big Blue Nation as Coach Cal's successor?
St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino
St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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2019 was the last time that Kentucky got past the first weekend of the tournament. I’d argue that the world changed a little bit since then and the college basketball world has changed just a little more. 

With the advent of the transfer portal and NIL, the players have gotten older and coaches have gotten younger. Yet, one-and-done Cal (both his recruiting philosophy and his recent tournament record) has stuck to his guns and shot himself in the foot.  Kentucky’s team of talented freshmen fell to No. 13 seed Oakland and 24-year-old Jack Gohlke, two years after a loss to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s and it feels like the end of an era is near. 

Kentucky fans want Calipari fired, but with his “lifetime contract” that may not be possible. Still, if the pressure mounts on the program's head man of 15 years, he may leave on his own accord. Either way, Big Blue Nation will be daydreaming about these possible replacements all summer long. 

Tommy Lloyd. Tommy Lloyd. . Tommy Lloyd. 511. . 2021-24. 5. player.

No, Tommy Lloyd hasn’t won big at Arizona… yet. However, he’s built a very impressive and seemingly sustainable program in just three years after leaving Gonzaga to spread his wings. 

I recognize that to take over Kentucky, a program that has won eight national championships and been to the NCAA Tournament 61 times, you have to be a proven commodity, but Lloyd has the perfect opportunity to prove himself this March. If he can take Arizona deep into the NCAA Tournament, preferably to the Final Four, then Kentucky could catch this star while it’s still on the rise. 

However, if he doesn’t win big and flames out for the third straight season as a top 2 seed with no Elite Eight appearances then that’s too big of a risk for Kentucky.  

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