Blog Entry

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 4:26 pm
 
By Gary Parrish

LOUISVILLE -- So I was walking around Louisville's practice facility Saturday, and I kept seeing shirts that read "Louisville First." Apparently, that's this season's slogan for the Cardinals. Team first. Nothing else matters. Check your ego at the door. Louisville First.

No big deal, right?

Coaches do stuff like this all the time.

But then I started thinking about John Calipari's Media Day on Thursday and the speech he gave at Friday's Big Blue Madness, and I couldn't help but make a connection between Louisville's new slogan and Calipari's favorite new phrase -- Players First. "This is a players-first program," he said over and over again, and it really is classic Calipari. He's always one step ahead, trying to turn somebody's something into something else. You see, once Pitino decided to tout his program as a program that puts the team first, Calipari decided to take the opposite approach and hammer into recruits' heads whatthat he's a players-first coach and only at Kentucky to help prospects "reach their dreams." Yes, Calipari has used the phrase before, but he's never used it as relentlessly as he's been using it lately. Everything is players-first-this and players-first-that. If Final Fours and national championships happen to come with that, well, that's fine, too. But it's players first at UK. Players first. Players first. Players first. Don't ever forget it.

So funny.

I love stuff like this.

Season tips Nov. 7
Anyway, besides that it's been fairly quiet in the Pitino-Calipari War of Words since the Louisville coach, in response to the Kentucky coach, said he planned to "ignore the jealous ... ignore the malicious ... ignore the ignorant and ... ignore the paranoid." If true, that's too bad because the Pitino-Calipari rivalry makes the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry tops in college basketball. I personally won't be satisfied until Calipari brings up Karen Sypher and Pitino spends 20 minutes talking about how much he'd hate it if one of his five Final Fours were ever vacated, much less two. Up to me, that's where we're headed. But after talking to some Louisville and Kentucky players about it over the weekend, I'm convinced I'm more into the rivalry between their coaches than they are, and you, the fans, probably are, too.

"We don't hear much about it, but our fans are always like, 'That Calipari is this,' and then the UK fans are like 'Rick Pitino is this and that,'" Louisville guard Peyton Siva said with a laugh. "Hey, it's Louisville vs. Kentucky. It's the fans' rivalry, and they feed into it. So anything Coach P says about Kentucky, they're gonna blow it up. And anything Coach Calipari says about Louisville, they're going to blow it up.

"It's fun," Siva concluded. "But we don't worry about it much."
Comments

Since: Aug 24, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:23 pm
 

"Players First" predates "Louisville First"

Parrish needs a history lesson.  "Players first" isn't Calipari's favorite new phrase.  He was talking about it on April 1, 2009 when he was introduced as Kentucky's new coach.  Check out the 4:07 mark of his press conference:   

It was a year and a half later that Pitino responded with "Lousiville First."  Parrish must be desperate if he has to twist the facts to support a new round of sniping between the coaches.  Perhaps he doesn't value his credibility.




Since: Jan 28, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:10 am
 

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

Gary, I usually enjoy reading what you write. However, on this point you clearly don't have the best info. As others have mentioned, Cal has been using this phrase well over a year now. Here's yet another link for your perusal:

 



Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:17 am
 

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

Cal started saying 'Players-frist univeristy' in 2009.  Lazy, Gary. Very Lazy. Check the 2:20 mark in the following link.






Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

So funny.

I love stuff like this.
Gary Parrish just turned into a 13 year old girl.



Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 8:29 pm
 

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

Yes, GARY IS WRONG, again, it's common for him and his poor sports journalism where he lets bias get in the way, it's a rare event if I even look at his articles anymore

Check again Gary...

Gary you've got your chronology wrong when you say "...once Pitino decided to tout his program as a prorgram that puts the team first, Calipari decided to take the opposite approach..." Pitino's "Louisville First" followed well after Calipari's references to Kentucky being a "players first" program. If either of these was a response to the other, it was Pitino following Calipari, NOT the other way around.



Since: Jul 12, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Check again Gary...

Gary you've got your chronology wrong when you say "...once Pitino decided to tout his program as a prorgram that puts the team first, Calipari decided to take the opposite approach..." Pitino's "Louisville First" followed well after Calipari's references to Kentucky being a "players first" program. If either of these was a response to the other, it was Pitino following Calipari, NOT the other way around.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com