FRANKFORT — Last month, at his first news conference as the new University of Kentucky basketball coach, John Calipari predicted that state agriculture commissioner and UK basketball fan favorite Richie Farmer someday will be governor.
Gov. Steve Beshear was asked about that comment Wednesday night as Calipari stood on his left and Farmer on his right at a reception in Calipari's honor at the Governor's Mansion.
All three men first laughed heartily at the politically sensitive question.
Beshear then said, "And I heard that."
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He then elaborated on his first conversation with Calipari.
"When he called and we talked, I told him, 'Coach, I have two things to say to you.'
"'Number one, congratulations. You have the most honored position that a basketball coach could have in this country.
"'Number two, Richie is going to have to wait until I get finished.'"
Beshear's comments drew more laughter.
Farmer was asked whether he is willing to wait. Beshear, a Democrat, has not yet divulged whether he will seek re-election in 2011.
Farmer, a Republican, was diplomatic: His reply didn't answer the question.
"It's been wonderful to be here with these two guys, and we've had a lot of fun talking about what was said at the press conference," Farmer said.
Beshear said he had invited "friends of the university, friends of mine, friends of our administration" to the mansion to meet Calipari and officially welcome him to Kentucky.
"We are going to have a lot more great basketball in the state," Beshear said. "We're now going to have two hot-blooded Italian coaches that will continue a great rivalry that we have in this state." Beshear was referring to University of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino.
Calipari called the visit "an honor" and said he has been overwhelmed with the interest in UK basketball.
"I'm humbled by it," he said. "It's hitting me what this is all about. I just wish the season were tomorrow. Let's throw it up and let's go."