U of M backtracks, decides against honoring Coach Calipari - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

U of M backtracks, decides against honoring Coach Calipari

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A simple tweet sparked an outpouring of emotion, and, eventually, a change of plans.

Wednesday, University of Memphis President Dr. David Rudd said former coach John Calipari would be honored in the Bluff City.

Calipari is being inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame this weekend for his body of work at University of Massachusetts, University of Memphis, and University of Kentucky.

Tigers fans reacted immediately.  They took to social media, some giving Rudd the benefit of the doubt (saying he might have been hacked), others calling out the Hall of Fame coach for being a cheater who left the school in the midst of NCAA violations.

Thursday, Rudd retracted the statement and said the school would not honor Calipari.

"People aren't thinking about John Calipari every day," Commercial Appeal columnist and radio show host Geoff Calkins said. "The only reason this came up is this crazy plan to honor him. I don't think it's about getting over it. I think it's about having integrity and not honoring a guy who six years ago put you on probation."

Rudd released the following statement to Twitter:

I apologize for the unnecessary upset, embarrassment and genuine distress generated by the issue of honoring Coach John Calipari on the occasion of his installation into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. One of my treasured responsibilities is to protect the integrity of our great University, represent our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. It is a responsibility that I embrace with great pride and deep conviction. In this instance, I have come up short. I want to be clear that this begins and ends with me. I am fully and solely responsible. If fingers need to be pointed, point them directly at me. If you need to talk, please call me. Rest assured, I will respond.

There are so many students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans that love this University and have been a part of this family for generations. To see your level of upset and distress has deeply troubled me. I have read every email, listened to every phone message and returned all calls that I have received. Although I was surprised by the depth and intensity of conviction, passion and distress, it was my responsibility to understand and weigh this in advance. Clearly I did not do that effectively.

I live a life driven by values and lead a great institution that has those same values, the very values so many of you have expressed. We need to reflect those values for all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. And I am responsible to the University of Memphis community. I recognize this will not end the debate and discussion, but it will put this chapter to rest for our University, fans, and community.

M. David Rudd, President

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly