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Fan’s message to John Calipari: “Embrace us, the average fans.”

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari was feeling a bit swaggy Saturday after his team’s win at Louisville just one week after the Cats had knocked off North Carolina.

During his postgame press conference, he joked about bandwagon fans and poked a little fun at the angst so many UK fans had felt after the season-opening 34-point loss to Duke. That even prompted UK freshman Ashton Hagans to comment on how fans got upset too easily.

None of that went over well with Sarah White of Nashville. She’s an avid UK fan who normally attends Calipari’s Women’s Clinic annually as well as the SEC Tournament with her husband and two daughters. She’s all-in with Calipari — and always has been — but she did not agree with his postgame comments and shared this letter with me in hopes it could find its way to Calipari, who said after the Louisville game that he didn’t have email or read Twitter or Facebook.

Here’s the message White wants to share with Calipari:

First of all, I love you as our coach, and I love you as a great promoter of all things UK. Secondly, I love how you get the players to come together as one against the others.

But, your over reaction about the minority of fans bothers me. It basically concentrates on the very few – not the masses. And, now it has worked its way down to the players. Ashton was even quoted about these “fans.”

I have hundreds of friends across the state and across the nation that are UK fans. I also have UK season tickets and lots of UK friends surround us each home game. I can’t tell you how many fans we run into at stores here in Tennessee that yell “Go Cats” if you have on anything UK.

Anyway, I want you, the coaches, and the players to know how much we are behind them and how proud we are of them. Ignore the haters; they will always hate. Embrace us, the average fan. We know you will have ups and downs. We know we will have good days and bad days. We know these are young kids. I have never felt a single person went into a game wanting to lose. Please let the guys know how the mass majority of fans feel. And, Go Big Blue.

Sarah White

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  1. TOTALLY agree!!! Further, by illuminating those few haters, he is putting the true, “average” fans in a horrible light on a national level–possibly even adversely affecting his own recruiting efforts. I don’t understand why he does it. And, he needs to always remind his players the reason they enjoy a UK program that, thanks to our coach, prepares them for the NBA better than any other is because of the historical financial contributions of the steadfast, “average” fans.

  2. Nice letter I guess, I just didn’t see all that gush after the Duke melt down. I am not a hater either, and have been a UK fan longer than some have even been around. Some of us old heads just don’t expect UK to lose to Duke by 34, anytime! Having a hard time digesting that one. Cal has two nice wins under his belt now, good for him. That is what he is paid to do. Cal don’t have anything to pop off about yet IMO, because this season ain’t over, and the SEC looks pretty good top to bottom. Let’s get to March and see where we are then. Those that criticize UK basketball under Calipari have been around a long time too. Criticism comes with the job, ask Tubby Smith. Many are season ticket holders too. Many of us are just a little weary of starting with a brand new team every year where the NBA is the almighty focus for most of these UK basketball players today.

  3. Most on line complainers amount to between 2-5% of the fan base of any team! They unfortunately get all the publicity, because they get off being vocal. They in no way represent the fan base of any team! We the silent majority have learned that you never count Cal out as long as there is another game to play. It has taken most of us a long time to adjust to Cal’s system and we support our coaches and players no matter how many wins and losses occur.

    Kentucky sports is in a great time in UK history. We are competitive and doing things the right way in all sports. We are proud of our school and their representatives! Please do not judge us or any school by a few rogue fans that only really like the sound of their own voices.

    Cal very rarely makes mistakes, but trying to run with Duke in the first game of the season and this criticism of our fans based on a small minority are two made this year. Cal does not fully understand social media, so I can not blame him for this mistake. I can only hope he learns from his mistakes and does not repeat them.

    UK fans and Cal bought into the fools gold of the Bahamas, which set our expectation way too high. Duke played their best game of the season and are beatable. This should be a fun and exciting season! I look forward to the excitement.

  4. Put me in Larry Pup’s corner on this one.

    He has been condescending toward the long time supporters of this program and the BBN for years, and it does not wear well.

    As I recall, after that Duke disaster, and after the first few games, Calipari was noticeably shaken by the gap between what he had expected from this group, and what was occurring on the court. Guess what Coach, that same shakiness is what the fan base saw, and no we will not sit back and just bite our tongues when you put that type of team on the floor.

    This is not about your players, either, which is your usually retort. This is all about you, the coach. We saw what we saw in the Bahamas, and it was not smoke and mirrors, it was real, against opponents with grown men who play basketball for a living. Against one opponent that dismantled a very good Michigan team 2 weeks later. But, now to justify the complete disintegration of the UK team from then to early November by poo-pooing the quality of the Bahamas’ opponents is as stark a rationalization for your failure to build upon the Bahamas trip rather than allow this team to disintegrate.

    That, Coach, is on you, not on the fan base.

    So, congratulations. It appears now that you have this group playing much better basketball over the last 3 games. It is your job, and our expectations that this would have been done before taking the floor against Duke, and it wasn’t.

  5. ENOUGH!!! Every year we hear: these are just 18 year old kids, they don’t know how to play college level basketball, its a process. Calapari was hired to win national championships and he has only won one despite having the talent to have won at least 4. He has openly declared that he is more concerned about kids getting into the NBA than winning national championships. He openly declares that KY is the gold standard of college basketball and then gets beat by 34 points by Duke in a laugher. I don’t expect him to win every game, but I do expect him to put a team on the floor that is competitive and doesn’t embarrass this university as has happened with many Calapari “wins”, not mentioning the losses (Robert Morris). I am ready for him to move on and bring a solid x and o coach in that will be focused on building championship teams year in and year out. I think his name is Billy Donovan.

  6. Thanks for posting this letter. I feel like it correctly reflects most of the BBN’s feelings toward our Cats.
    The internet provides echo chambers for just about any point of view, which in turn bolsters the individual’s idea that their view is widely shared. Unfortunately, a view held by a small minority and a view held by a large majority look nearly identical in a sports forum or chat room.
    Cal should just remind himself of what he told the fan base a few years back, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy”. Sound advice.

    GBB!

  7. I love what Cal said and I agree with the letter. He has to address this stuff because his players see it. This site has become a prime example of what Cal is saying. It is dominated by the Negative Nelly’s and the Basketball Benny’s that just love to read there own lines. They attack the players, the system and the coach. But they are a very small minority. I have camped for BBM tickets for 13 straight years and rarely here the stuff I read here. I attend several games a year and have been blessed to see them perform at every level. It is the same with the FB team. All these internet coaches put down the Cats on line but UK had no issue selling out there bowl tickets.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease and that is why Cal responds, but the fan base that I see when I travel to games both FB and BB or when I camp out for BBM is not reflected on this site or any other. Cal stood outside and talked with a group of fans and myself for about 30 minutes with nothing but smiles and praise for the BBN(at the camp out). I believe he knows who the average fan is he sees us every year at the camp out, on road games when we fill up the opponents arena and when we travel to NCAA games and truly appreciates us. He just needs to say that more often.

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