Clarion University Athletics to unveil “Coach Cal Court”
CLARION, Pa. (Clarion Athletics) – One of the most recognizable Golden Eagle alumni of recent decades will soon have a permanent home in Tippin Gymnasium. John Calipari, a 1982 Clarion graduate and former men’s basketball player, will return to Clarion on Tuesday, September 21 as the court in Tippin Gymnasium is officially renamed the John V. Calipari Court, and will be known as “Coach Cal Court.”
“We are so grateful for the leadership and philanthropy that John and Ellen have shown Clarion University over the years,” said Clarion University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson. “Their impact on Clarion and our students is immense, and we are proud to be able to recognize this legacy with such a visible tribute.”
The unveiling ceremony will take place on September 21 as an invitation-only event in Tippin Gymnasium. However, fans wishing to watch the ceremony will be able to do so on the PSAC Sports Digital Network app.
A 29-year veteran of college basketball coaching, Calipari was a 2015 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He has guided six teams to the Final Four, led one to a national championship and helped 54 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his college coaching career. From UMass to Memphis and ultimately Kentucky, Calipari has been among the very best college coaches in the game for the last three decades.
The roots of that story stretch back to Western Pennsylvania, where he was a star high school basketball player at Moon High School under another Clarion graduate, Joe Sacco ’66. Calipari started his college playing career at UNC Wilmington before transferring to Clarion in 1981, helping the Golden Eagles reach their first NCAA Division II Tournament in program history that year. Under legendary head coach Joe DeGregorio, Clarion went 23-6 and reached the East Region championship game. He was a key member of Clarion’s 1981-82 team that started the season 7-0 and ranked third in Division II at one point.
“When John Calipari was a student-athlete, he was a key part of some of the most accomplished men’s basketball teams in our program’s history,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Wendy Snodgrass. “As the years have gone by, he and Ellen have continued to make an incredible impact on the lives of our current Golden Eagles, affording them amazing opportunities to excel on the court and in the classroom. We are proud that his name and his legacy will hold a place of prominence in our home, as a constant reminder of their love and commitment for Clarion University.”