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The Good and the Bad of Coaching Against a Friend

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The Good and the Bad of Coaching Against a Friend

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:13 pm

The Good and the Bad of Coaching Against a Friend

By BRETT MCMURPHY
It may have taken 8 years, but John Calipari was finally able to defeat his friend Bob Huggins.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images It may have taken eight years, but John Calipari was finally able to defeat his friend Bob Huggins again.

TAMPA, Fla. — Kentucky’s John Calipari finally ended his drought against Bob Huggins, but if it was up to Calipari he would prefer not to coach against Huggins in the future.

When the Wildcats beat the Mountaineers, 71-63, Saturday afternoon in the third round of the N.C.A.A. tournament, the coaches had a long embrace near mid-court.

“That’s why I wanted to hug him and let him enjoy what I’ve enjoyed,” Calipari said of his embrace with his friend Huggins.

It was only Calipari’s second victory in 10 meetings against team coaches by Huggins. His only other victory came on March 1, 2003, when Memphis defeated Cincinnati. Last year, Huggins’ Mountaineers eliminated Calipari’s Wildcats in a Round of 8 matchup and advanced to the Final Four.

“You know, we got them a little bit this game, but it’s one of the things I want to tell you in this profession: you hate to play against friends because I know what it feels like to get beat,” Calipari said. “And you don’t want to play against friends. You want to play against people you don’t like. Beat them.

“I won’t schedule nonconference games. I don’t want to schedule them against former coaches or assistants of mine, not trying to rack up a record against those guys. I know what it’s like to lose. If they ask me for a guarantee game I may do it, but you don’t really like to play against friends. I mean, you don’t want to.”

Huggins has the opposite opinion about coaching against former assistants or friends.

“Maybe it’ll be a little easier tomorrow knowing that he’s still playing,” Huggins said of losing to Calipari. “It doesn’t help today, but — yeah, tomorrow, I mean — I’ve played my former assistants because at least you know you feel a little bit better that somebody you like wins rather than some people that you don’t like,” Huggins said.

“Not that I don’t like them, I like most guys, it’s just I don’t like them as much.”
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