Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 1994


November 30, 1994


John Calipari's climb to the coaching pinnacle -- his Massachusetts basketball team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country -- started at Kansas.

KU coach Ted Owens had an opening for a part-time assistant coach in 1982, and aide Bob Hill recommended Calipari for the post.

Calipari, a native of Moon, Pa., had just graduated from Clarion, Pa., State where he had played point guard for two seasons after transferring from North Carolina-Wilmington.

When Owens was fired after the 1982-83 season, Calipari took a job as recruiting coordinator at Vermont University. However, new Kansas head coach Larry Brown offered Calipari a full-time coaching position and Calipari returned to Mount Oread where he spent the next two seasons.

Then Calipari moved to Pitt where he worked three seasons as an aide under Paul Evans before taking the UMass head job in 1988.

While at Kansas, Calipari was head coach of the junior varsity and organized the "Little Jayhawks" ball-handling squad that made several halftime appearances in Allen Fieldhouse.

Calipari also met his wife while on the KU staff. Ellen Cromwell, divorced from former KU football standout Nolan Cromwell, was working in the KU athletic department business office when they were introduced.

Today John and Ellen Calipari have two daughters, Erin Sue and Megan Rae.

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