UK Men's Basketball

Calipari holds court, pen in hand

University of Kentucky basketball fans bounced in to Joseph-Beth Booksellers Saturday evening in droves for a book signing by John Calipari.

In less than an hour and a half, the coach signed about 400 copies of his newly released book, Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life, co-authored with David Scott, said Brooke Raby, public relations and events coordinator for Joseph-Beth.

Calipari is currently bouncing back from news that, because of NCAA rules violations at the University of Memphis, the team had to vacate its 38 victories and its national runner-up finish for the 2007-2008 season. None of those violations implicated Calipari, who was head coach at Memphis at the time. [CORRECTION at 5:41 p.m., 8/31/09: Story originally said Memphis won national title in 2007-08.]

But fans who turned out for the signing said they're revved up about the his future at UK.

"I feel very happy about him," said Mary Anne Brown, who was waiting in line with her husband, Jim Brown, 90, who holds the distinction of having attended every home football game at UK since 1938, with the exception of the 1944 season, when he was fighting in World War II. The couple are big basketball fans, too, although they watch the men's games on television.

Mary Anne Brown said she's tired of negative publicity about the coach.

"Calipari hasn't done anything wrong," Brown said. "He deserves better treatment."

The couple had four books to be signed—one for themselves and three that will be Christmas gifts.

Raby said Joseph-Beth had sold 644 copies of the $26 book in the past two weeks.

Matt Christy said he "thought it would be cool" to have an autographed copy since it's being released during Calipari's first year at UK.

"It looks like he may go on to have a real dynasty there," he said. "I like him. I'm excited that he's here."

A group of five UK freshmen from Graves County made the trek to the bookstore together, posing for pictures with the coach and picking up extra copies of the book for family back home.

They said they've seen Calipari jogging around campus, smiling and waving at students who greet him.

"He's taken on the ambassador role that a UK coach needs to," said Jordan Barton. "He's not hiding from the public."

"We're open-minded," said his friend Haden Marrs. "We're focusing on right now. Now if something else happens...."