Kentucky-DePaul Series? DeWayne Peevy and John Calipari Weigh in


When DeWayne Peevy introduced himself to the DePaul community yesterday, as the new Athletic Director, he threw down the gauntlet to his longtime colleague and friend, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.

“That’s going to be the first thing I’m going after,” Peevy responded when asked on a media Zoom call about trying to schedule UK. “Cal, if you’re listening, get the phone ready.” Peevy then made it clear he doesn’t want a home and home series; they have to come to Chicago.

“And they have to come to Wintrust,” he added.

Even if DePaul have the home court advantage for this hypothetical match-up, they would obviously be heavy underdogs. You’re better off gambling with sa gaming than on that particular contest, if/when it happens, because the spread would be so far in Kentucky’s favor that bettors wouldn’t get a favorable point spread.

Today, Coach Cal did a Zoom call with reporters, and he was asked about potentially making the series happen. Calipari gave a very long response, but he didn’t answer definitively.

Cal mostly extolled the virtues of Peevy, and gave him credit for having big ambitions and making large plans.

“He’s looking at this like ‘why not’ and everyone’s got to jump on board with that,” Calipari said of Peevy, making reference to this Peevy quote yesterday:

“I’m coming here to win a national championship. And if everybody is not on board with dreaming those dreams, you might not be cut out for the new DePaul athletics.”

Cal then made reference to his days at UMass, when the University President boldly proclaimed the school would someday make the Final Four (they eventually did in 1996). For Cal’s comments watch the video below, at the 10 min mark:

Peevy was the first black SID in the SEC, and he wasn’t even aware of it, until someone pointed it out to him. He now becomes the first black A.D. in DePaul history, after having spent 12 years at Kentucky, starting in media relations and then working all the way up to Deputy Athletic Director, where he served as essentially the main administrator for the men’s basketball team.

“I think you all in Chicago are going to say ‘wow this is something interesting going on here and want to jump on board,” Calipari said of Peevy.

The new DePaul A.D. is credited with having been the lead on the creation of the CBS Sports Classic, a double header that Kentucky participates in every season. The event has been staged at the United Center twice, and that’s the venue Kentucky would likely play at, if they were to come here, not Wintrust Arena.

And the only way this series is going to happen, is if it’s home-and-home. If DPU wants the

Peevy comes to DPU at a time when their program has totally fallen off the map. They have had losing seasons in 12 of the last 15, and finished dead last or tied for last in the Big East in 10 of the last 12. They have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2004, with last year being especially harsh.

The Demons were on the brink of being nationally ranked, after a 12-1 preconference, but utterly collapsed in conference play, where they went 3-15. It’s a long ways away from where they used to be. From 1976 to 1992, DePaul went to the tournament 14 times, highlighted by a Final Four appearanced in 1979.

It’s not new territory for Peevy, as he pointed out yesterday. His first year at UK saw the team relegated to the NIT, ending a 17 year streak of NCAA tournament bound seasons. In the midst of his time in Lexington, they won the 2012 national title.

Peevy discussed what he learned from working with Calipari that he might be able to translate to DePaul:

“Being a gatherer, working with a group of people to accomplish a goal.”

“He’s made me an idea person, because I have to match him, and then sometimes I have to get out in front of him, and he has to catch me. It’s been a challenge and it’s brought out some of the best things in my career.”

Peevy was the one who actually convinced Calipari to join Twitter, among many other things. On the Cal today, Cal said that he and Peevy should write a book about all the stupid, but big ideas they came up with but ultimately scrapped.

He joked with reporters that the people on the call would be completely flabbergasted by the utter stupidity of some of these ideas, but that’s just part of the process towards finding the good ideas.

“That’s all part of having ideas and trusting each other,” Calipari said.

“He IS an idea guy. Not all of them are good, but so what? You only need two of ’em, the other 30 you throw away. Here are the ones that are good and get us moving in the right direction.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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