Wharton, Bredesen praise Calipari - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton, Bredesen praise Calipari

Mayor AC Wharton, Governor Phil Bredesen Mayor AC Wharton, Governor Phil Bredesen

By Ben Watson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shortly after John Calipari officially announced Wednesday he would be leaving Memphis, Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen wished the coach well with his new job in Kentucky.

Jokingly, Bredesen put to rest 'rumor' he would seek the head basketball position at the University of Memphis.

"There is no truth to the rumor that I am down here interviewing for an opening at the university," he laughed.

Wharton and Bredesen were together Wednesday to announce a new program designed to fight infant mortality.  Afterwards, they spoke frankly about Calipari leaving Memphis.

"Although we call this college sports, it's a business," Wharton said.

"I've got mixed feelings," Bredesen added. "On one hand, I am very sad to lose him from the state."

Wharton reiterated Calipari's remarks that it was not the first time the coach received an offer to leave.

"I'm sure there have been other times that he could have left here for what could have been more attractive offers, but he did not," he said.

And Wharton added he appreciated the time Calipari spent in Memphis.

"Nine years is a long time, so I can't envy him at all," he said.

The program Bredesen and Wharton announced Wednesday will establish a special team to find solutions to the infant mortality problem in Tennessee.

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