Kentucky coach John Calipari criticized N.C. State’s decision to fire Mark Gottfried, with four games left in the regular season, after Kentucky’s road win at Georgia on Saturday night.
Calipari, who is friends with Gottfried, started by defending coach Mark Fox, who is under his own pressure at Georgia, and then veered into a commentary on Gottfried and midseason firings.
“We’re firing coaches in midseason,” Calipari said, according to a video of the postgame news conference posted by SEC Country. “Are you (expletive) me? We’re firing coaches in midseason. You know what I’m putting in my contract? You can fire me at midseason, but you’re going to have to pay me $3 million. Oh, you’ll let me stay now, won’t you?”
Calipari then shared his specific thoughts on Gottfried and N.C. State.
“What if Mark Gottfried goes at the end and goes on a run and gets to the NCAA tournament – which he was in four out of five years, two Sweet 16s, which is not done at N.C. State – what happens now?” Calipari said.
Gottfried led N.C. State to the NCAA tournament in each of his first four seasons and to the Sweet 16 in 2012 and ’15. N.C. State had made the Sweet 16 once (in 2005) since Jim Valvano’s last season in 1990.
Calipari wasn’t done. He compared N.C. State’s current situation with his Kentucky team. Only problem here: Kentucky is 22-5 and 12-2 in conference play (SEC). N.C. State is 14-14 and 3-12 in conference play (ACC).
“(Gottfried) has good players, but they’re young; they’re like my team,” Calipari said. “It’s hard to do this with young guys.”
Calipari then finished his thoughts with: “Fake media! I’m just kidding.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio