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
2 of 5

Rick Pitino. 478. Rick Pitino. player. . . Rick Pitino. 2023-24. . 4

Let’s run it back baby! Get ole Rick back down to Lexington and let’s win another national title. Maybe he can even convince Jamal Mashburn Jr. to leave his son Richard to come lead the Wildcats back to the tournament. 

Pitino didn’t make the tournament in his first year at St. John’s, but his team was more than deserving, and a coach can never be judged by Year 1 at a new program. Pitino still has the fire at 71 years old, and he’s the perfect combination of rockstar and nostalgia that would get Big Blue Nation to buy all the way back in, even after he spurned the program for an NBA job at the height of its powers. 

Beyond just reinvigorating the fanbase, I also think Pitino is still capable of winning at a high level and doing it above board. Now that he can legally pay his players through NIL, he doesn’t need to delve into the alleged shenanigans from his tenure at Louisville to get the top talent he was also so great at developing. 

Kentucky basketball needs to heal and sometimes the only way to go forward is to go back. It’s time for the return of Rick.