Football coach Mark Stoops takes issue with John Calipari calling Kentucky a 'basketball school'

·4 min read

In his push for an extravagant new practice facility, John Calipari called the University of Kentucky a "basketball school."

Mark Stoops isn't having it.

The Wildcats' 10th-year head football coach took to Twitter on Thursday to fire back at Calipari's comments in a report from Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, who is in Nassau covering the basketball team's exhibition tour of the Bahamas. Calipari told Tucker and other media members in attendance he thinks Kentucky is a "basketball school" while advocating for a multi-use practice facility in the middle of campus.

"This is a basketball school. It’s always been that," Calipari said. "Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. I mean, they are. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. At the end of the day, that makes my job easier and it makes the job of all of us easier. But this is a basketball school. And so we need to keep moving in that direction and keep doing what we’re doing."

Tucker tweeted Calipari's quote at 3:06 p.m. ET Thursday with a link to his report. Stoops quoted the tweet at 3:18 p.m. ET and wrote, "Basketball school? I thought we competed in the SEC? #4straightpostseasonwins."

Those who thought Stoops might have been joking need only check his Twitter page to confirm otherwise.

After his initial tweet, the head coach retweeted a post from a 247Sports reporter calling Calipari's comments "insulting." Not long after, he retweeted a WKYT reporter who said, "The football team has had more success than basketball the last 4-5 years. Not even close."

"#BBN begs to differ!" Stoops said in a follow-up tweet. "Don’t disrespect our great fans like that."

Some of Stoops' players, current and former, joined in on the smack talk.

Former punter Max Duffy tweeted: "Completely out of the blue question but has the Kentucky football team ever lost to St. Peters?"

"I think we pretty good at football to," tweeted Vince Marrow, Kentucky's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. "Love what @UKCoachStoops has done here @universityofky. Go Big Blue."

When comparing the two programs, Stoops and company don't have the national championships (eight), Final Four appearances (17), conference titles (33) and overall wins (2,355) to keep up with Calipari and Kentucky's rich basketball history. That's not to say the Wildcats haven't made marked improvement on the gridiron since Stoops' arrival.

Over the past five seasons, Kentucky football boasts a 64% winning percentage (42-23) compared to 73% for the men's basketball team (131-48). Stoops' teams have won four consecutive bowl games, while Calipari and company missed the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and had this season's dance cut short as a No. 2 seed by the 15th-seeded Saint Peter's Peacocks in the first round.

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Only time will tell if the coaching beef continues as Calipari continues his push for a new practice facility. He told The Athletic on Thursday that, if needed, he would raise the money himself — and check with some of his former players who have gone on to lucrative NBA careers to see if they'd be willing to donate to the cause.

"The administration should be like, 'we’re doing this,'" Calipari told The Athletic. "How about the state? If this is the University for Kentucky, and it’s the basketball program for the state, which it is, how about the state says, 'We’re in. We’re gonna invest.' I’ll tell you right now, Anthony Davis gave $350,000 on a text to me (for flood relief). Do you know what our former players would do? They just gotta see it: What is it? So it’s the next challenge that we all have."

As to when Calipari and Stoops may address these comments, the former isn't coaching during the Bahamas tour and will not be made available to the media during the next several days. Stoops will be available Saturday after UK wrap up a fall camp practice.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky's Mark Stoops rips John Calipari's basketball school comment