Sidelines with John Clay

New York Post columnist tells great John Calipari story

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari objects to a call during his team’s 2016 NCAA Tournament win over Stony Brook in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari objects to a call during his team’s 2016 NCAA Tournament win over Stony Brook in Des Moines, Iowa. Lexington Herald-Leader

On the website The --30--, Mike Vorkunov conducted an interview with New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro, which included an interesting and amusing story about current Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.

The year was 2004. Calipari was the coach at Memphis. St. John’s was about to fire coach Mike Jarvis and there was talk the school would go after Calipari. Vaccaro wrote a column in the New York Post he didn’t think that was a good idea.

Calipari got wind of the column. We’ll let Vaccaro pick it up from there:

“Well, the morning the column ran, my sports editor at the time, Greg Gallo, played his voice mail and there was Cal, shouting at peak volume, motherf----- me and motherf----- the Post and motherf------ Gallo, all but taunting him that he didn’t have the b---- to call him back but here’s my cell phone anyway. Now one great thing about working for Gallo was: he didn’t give a s--- about who was pissed at us. So he basically shrugged his shoulders, dialed the number. Cal answered.

‘John, Greg Gallo here. It sounds like you’re angry.”

Well, Cal basically repeated his entire voice mail, again at peak volume, and if you know Gallo you know he just let him go, didn’t interrupt, let him have his say. Then Cal said, “So let me ask you something, Greg: It’s OK with you if Mike Vaccaro wakes up one morning and says, ‘F--- it, I’m gonna go after Cal today, I’m gonna rip Cal a new a------.’ That’s acceptable to you?”

Gallo paused for a second and then said, ‘That’s why I pay him, John.’

And Cal, he just laughed and said, ‘Well, I guess that’s that.’ And hung up.”

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