Wednesday University of Memphis president Dr. M. David Rudd announced that the school would be honoring Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame selection John Calipari (he’ll be inducted tomorrow) over the course of two days in late December. However it became rather apparent in the minutes and hours after this announcement that the Memphis fan base wasn’t polled beforehand, with many sending angry tweets and emails to the president.
Thursday afternoon Dr. Rudd announced that the school would not be honoring Calipari after all, just hours after originally stating that the event would be a one-day affair December 28. Dr. Rudd issued a statement on the matter via his Twitter account, apologizing to the Memphis fan base for the “unnecessary upset, embarrassment and genuine distress generated” by the move to honor Calipari.
While Calipari’s tenure at Memphis produced a lot of wins, many fans were none to thrilled with either the way in which he left or the fact that an NCAA investigation led to their 38 wins and title game appearance in 2008 being vacated from the record books. To say the least this is an embarrassing situation, regardless of one’s feelings towards the soon-to-be Hall of Fame head coach.
For this to play out in the days before Calipari receives the sport’s greatest honor takes away attention from what’s supposed to be a special night. This could have been avoided had those at Memphis who meant well in the beginning done their due diligence and checked the fan base’s thoughts before making the announcement.