As John Calipari loses at home to South Carolina, Kentucky fan booted for sign saying 'Please go to Texas' | Zagsblog
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Sunday / June 23.
  • As John Calipari loses at home to South Carolina, Kentucky fan booted for sign saying ‘Please go to Texas’

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    A Kentucky fan was kicked out of Rupp Arena Tuesday night for holding up a sign telling coach John Calipari to “Please go to Texas.”

    Texas last week fired coach Chris Beard, and Calipari was loosely linked to the job but said on Jan. 9, “I haven’t talked to anybody.”

    The sign was made before Kentucky lost at home to South Carolina, 71-68, despite entering as a 20-point favorite. South Carolina was picked last in the preseason SEC poll, while Kentucky was selected to win the league. It was South Carolina’s first win at Rupp since 2009 and came in first-year coach Lamont Paris’s first game at the historic arena.

    “At first the blue coat [Kentucky official] just told me to put [the sign] away, so I did,” Kentucky fan Tate Renzenbrink said via direct message.

    “Then he came back up and said security was making him take it. I said I’d just leave instead. He still tried to take it. I said ‘I’m not giving it to you,’ and got escorted out. When I was walking up the stairs, I held it up and that’s when he physically grabbed me and yelled at me that I need to put it down or I’m going to be detained by security. Then I got escorted out by him, a higher security guy, and 2 officers. [I] had the sign out for a total of 2 minutes and they made the scene much bigger than it would’ve been by ignoring it.”

    Kentucky fans are growing increasingly disenchanted with Calipari, who was coming off a 26-point loss at Alabama on Saturday.

    Kentucky dropped to 10-6, 1-3 in the SEC after the South Carolina game, and still doesn’t own a Quad-1 victory (0-5). They play at No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday.

    “Stick with these kids,” Calipari told reporters after the South Carolina game. “If you want to get on me, that’s fine. I’m the coach. … If you want to be mad, be mad at me.”

    Kentucky hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2019 (there was no tournament in 2020 due to the pandemic), and was ousted by No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the first round last year.

    Renzenbrink said it’s time for Calipari, who has a lifetime contract and led the Wildcats to the NCAA championship in 2012, to move on.

    “I think Cal has to go, but his lifetime contract and buyout make that difficult,” he said. “If Texas can fix those roadblocks, Kentucky has to throw everything at Jay Wright.”

    While it’s unlikely that Wright, who retired suddenly in April after leading Villanova to two NCAA championships, would take another college job, Renzenbrink floated the names of Arkansas’s Eric Musselman, Alabama’s Nate Oats and Baylor’s Scott Drew.

    “[Cal’s] offense is just too outdated,” he said.

    Said Calipari: “We’ve got to be better, and that’s on me. We’re on a mission.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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