Kentucky fans feel every emotion after John Calipari's departure to Arkansas

John Calipari's 15-year tenure in Lexington is over as the former head coach of the Wildcats is taking over Arkansas basketball and many fans are happy to see him go, though others fear the future without Coach Cal's recruiting dominance.
Kentucky coach John Calipari
Kentucky coach John Calipari / Jeff Faughender/Courier Journal / USA

Fans have power, especially when those fans are Big Blue Nation. Now, multiple reports say that the Kentucky fanbase played a significant role in John Calipari’s departure from Kentucky to Arkansas. 

John Calipari didn’t feel wanted because what Big Blue Nation wanted was a ninth championship, and with just one NCAA Tournament win since 2019, Coach Cal wasn’t anywhere near it. The fanbase was ready to move on and now Calipari has, but not everyone was on board with the move. 

Some members of Big Blue Nation were happy with the status quo and others even cited the NBA success of Calipari’s former players as a big reason. Apparently, Coach Cal constantly talking about how NBA draft day was the most important day actually got through to a portion of the championship-starved supporters. 

Calipari still had loyal fans to the end in Lexington. 

Some even believe that Calipari is bigger than Kentucky basketball and will revitalize his career with a revenge tour centered around a stop at Rupp Arena. 

However, it appears that the majority of Big Blue Nation is glad to be freed from the unhappy marriage between Cal and Kentucky. It’s evident to these members of Big Blue Nation that change was inevitable and frankly overdue. 

Others even went so far as to tear down the strongest parts of Calipari’s resume and legacy. Yes, Coach Cal was always the best recruiter in the country, but these fans questioned whether you deserve a pat on the back when the best high school players become the best NBA prospects a year later. 

Even worse, when you aren’t consistently winning championships with loaded rosters like the 2015 Kentucky team, what does that say about you as a coach? Wisconsin didn’t have a better team in the Final Four that year, so what was better about the Badgers?

Really, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Calipari will have some level of success at Arkansas, but a national championship is unlikely. This fan may have summed it up the best. 

Kentucky will always be Kentucky and that doesn’t change now that Calipari is gone.

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