John Calipari Catching Heat for Putting Hands on Holly Rowe During Interview

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Kentucky coach John Calipari has done more than his fair share of halftime interviews across 1,023 games in the college ranks, spread between MassachusettsMemphis and the Wildcats.

None, however, have been quite like his halftime conversation with ESPN’s Holly Rowe Saturday afternoon.

With Kentucky nursing a 33-26 lead at the break against No. 5 Tennessee, Calipari stopped as per usual to chat with Rowe as he left the court. While discussing the Wildcats’ strong start, an extremely eager Calipari put both hands on Rowe to illustrate his points.

“Did we miss three open shots? We did. That’s why we were down 8-0,” Calipari said. “Then you get in the huddle and say, ‘We’re alright. We just missed open shots. Keep playing.'”

Calipari monologued for much of the interview, emphasizing his team’s defense and the game’s rough-and-tumble character.

Kentucky went on to pull out a 63-56 win, the biggest victory of a tumultuous season for the Wildcats. 

Kyle Tucker of The Athletic reported earlier this week that Calipari and Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart rarely speak, and the 11-6 Wildcats have floundered for much of 2023. Meanwhile, speculation over Calipari and Texas’s open coaching job has run rampant; a fan was ejected from Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina for brandishing a “Please Go to Texas” sign.

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