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Memphis cancels ceremony honoring former coach John Calipari
1:10 | College Basketball
Memphis cancels ceremony honoring former coach John Calipari
Thursday September 10th, 2015

After announcing on Wednesday plans to honor John Calipari during the upcoming season, University of Memphis president Dr. M. David Rudd said on Thursday the school would not do so after all following significant backlash from Tigers fans. 

Calipari coached Memphis from 2000 to 2009 before leaving for Kentucky. Circumstances of his departure from the school have long stung Tigers fans, who are upset Calipari left Memphis in the middle of an NCAA investigation and recruited previous Memphis targets to Kentucky.

With Calipari set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, Rudd tweeted Wednesday evening that Memphis would welcome Calipari back to campus in December for “a great homecoming.” By Thursday night, Rudd changed the plans.

DAVIS: Appreciating what Calipari has achieved en route to the Hall of Fame

The backlash to Rudd’s initial decision to honor Calipari was immediately noticeable on social media, especially in the direct replies to Rudd’s tweet.

Rudd shared several of the angry responses he received on his Twitter account Wednesday night and into Thursday before directly acknowledging the backlash.

Calipari coached Memphis to a 252–69 record before leaving for Kentucky, where has coached the Wildcats to a 190–38 record, the 2012 NCAA tournament championship and four Final Four appearances.

Calipari also coached UMass and Memphis to the 1996 and 2008 Final Fours, respectively, although those results were later vacated by the NCAA. His record at UMass has since been adjusted to 189–70 and his record at Memphis stands at 214–68.

After Rudd first shared Memphis’s plans to honor him, Calipari responded on his own Twitter account.

Mike Fiammetta

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