At various points throughout the college basketball season a head coach may invite an inactive coach to campus, allowing him to take in some practices and offer feedback from an “outside” perspective.
According to Jimmy Tramel of the Tulsa World, Kentucky head coach John Calipari issued an invite will likely turn some heads amongst the Wildcat faithful. The recipient of the invitation: former Kentucky head coach Eddie Sutton.
Calipari, who will be the keynote speaker at the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards in Tulsa on Monday, expressed his admiration for the former coach in a phone interview with Tramel.
Calipari said they talked about hiring and Sutton’s advice was to forgo “yes men” in favor of assistants who are strong in areas where the head coach is weak. Calipari joked he would need to hire “about 18 guys.”
“But coach Sutton is one of those guys that when you sit down and talk to him, basketball-wise you just get nuggets,” Calipari said.
“It gives me great enjoyment to sit down with veteran guys who just can leave you with so many things. … Every time I am with him, there are a couple of things he will give me just as we converse that I am, like, ‘Wow.'”
Sutton put together quite the resume as a head coach at the college level, winning 804 games as a Division I head coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco.
But his four-year stint in Lexington was anything but smooth, as the Wildcats would eventually land in even more hot water with the NCAA due to the violation of multiple NCAA rules.
With that in mind, how will Kentucky fans react to the possibility of Sutton being back on the UK campus? Does time truly heal all wounds?
Kentucky basketball went through a very rough stretch in the years that followed, as they had to deal with penalties such as a two-year ban from postseason play and a television ban for the 1989-90 season.
The young players who went through those lean seasons would eventually come to be known as “The Unforgettables,” with their 1991-92 season coming to a painful end in the East regional final.
While names such as Farmer, Feldhaus, Pelphrey and Woods will never be forgotten by the fans, it’s likely a safe bet that they don’t want to revisit the years prior to that.
The question now is whether or not that further delays Sutton’s return to Lexington.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.