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John Calipari to speak at North Carolina-Wilmington Tip-Off Dinner

John Calipari. (Vicky Graff Photo)

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – University of Kentucky Head Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari, who started his playing career at UNCW before becoming one of the nation’s most accomplished college coaches, will be the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Men’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner this fall.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, at the Burney Center. Ticket information will be announced later. Proceeds for the 7 p.m. dinner will benefit UNCW men’s basketball.

“We’re very excited that Coach Calipari is going to speak at our tip-off banquet banquet,” said C.B. McGrath, UNCW’s third-year head coach. “It’s going to be a great event and we’re thrilled to welcome him back as a former student-athlete. His success as a coach is second to none. What he does off the court to help others is phenomenal. He is extremely generous to help UNCW basketball.”

A 2015 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Calipari has piloted six teams to the NCAA Final Four, including the 2012 national championship club, and helped 49 players earn selection in the NBA draft in his 27-year collegiate coaching career.

Calipari has made three NCAA Division I coaching stops: UMass, Memphis and UK. In 10 seasons in Lexington, Calipari leads all coaches in total wins (305), NCAA Tournament victories (31), Final Fours (4), Elite Eights (7) and Sweet Sixteens (8).

While piling up numerous honors and awards, Calipari’s penultimate moment came in 2011-12 when he guided the Wildcats to the NCAA national title in his third season as head of Big Blue Nation. He remains one of just two coaches to lead three different programs (UMass-1996, Memphis-2008 and Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2012, 2015) to a Final Four, joining Rick Pitino in the feat.

Calipari owns a career coaching record of 708-209 (.772), including a mark of 305-71 (.811) at Kentucky. He has coached teams to 15 conference championships and a 51-17 (.750) NCAA Tournament record.

The Sewickley, Pa., native also coached at Kansas (assistant coach, 1983-85), Pittsburgh (assistant coach, 1986-88), UMass (head coach, 1989-96), New Jersey Nets (head coach, 1997-99), Philadelphia 76ers (assistant coach, 200), Memphis (head coach, 2001-09).

As a player, Calipari appeared in 25 games in two seasons with the Seahawks in 1978-79 and 1979-80 before transferring to Clarion, Pa. A point guard, he played in 25 games, scoring 21 points with seven rebounds and 22 assists. He scored a career-high nine points at Campbell on Jan. 8, 1979.

UNCW Men’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner Speakers
2016 – Seth Greenberg, ESPN Analyst

2017 – Roy Williams, Head Basketball Coach, University of North Carolina

2018 – Brad Brownell, Head Basketball Coach, Clemson University

2019 – John Calipari, Head Basketball Coach, University of Kentucky

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