John Calipari’s move to Arkansas draws comparison to Texas A&M hiring Jimbo Fisher

Like it or not, there are a lot of parallels between what Texas A&M football pulled off in 2017 and what the Hogs are now doing.
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari yells to the team during their game against the Arkansas
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari yells to the team during their game against the Arkansas / Clare Grant / Courier Journal / USA

Arkansas hires John Calipari; Is this similar to Texas A&M football’s hire of Jimbo Fisher?

In case you somehow hadn’t heard, the news broke last night that Arkansas basketball, who recently lost their coach, Eric Musselman, to Southern Cal, is now finalizing the hire of Kentucky’s John Calipari. Coach Calipari brings with him the reputation of an ace recruiter, often leading the nation in one-and-dones, but has struggled to achieve results in recent years.

In that vein alone, it’s easy to see how the comparison to the hire of Jimbo Fisher might be made. Apparently, Arkansas also shelled out to make this hire—as you might expect—so it’s similar in that respect as well.

It goes deeper, though. Texas A&M football fans well remember the reaction of Florida State fans when Fisher was hired away—it was mixed, to say the least. I think there was annoyance at losing their coach to what they perceived to be a lesser program, but the attitude in the fanbase around Jimbo was mostly negative.

There were predictions in the Seminole faithful of word salad press conferences and offensive line issues—predictions that were often returned to by Aggie fans near the end of Jimbo’s tenure in College Station. While I think that a fair amount of this came from an attitude of a scorned fanbase, there were certainly some warning lights there.

Kentucky fans are now making Arkansas faithful aware of those same warning lights. Coach Calipari has all of one tournament win in the last four years to his name, while boasting one of the most talented rosters in the country year in and year out. They consistently underachieve the win total that a roster like that should be able to get—not all that dissimilar from what the problem was with Musselman this past year.

Personally, I’m fine with this comparison. There are a few too many similarities to ignore, in all honesty, and as much as Arkansas fans don’t want to hear this, this is a hire that seems destined for that same end.