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Jeff Eisenberg

How did this man not win SEC coach of the year?

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There's only one explanation for Kentucky's John Calipari not receiving the SEC's coach of the year award: Other coaches must truly hate him.

How else can you possibly explain Tuesday morning's announcement that Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings beat out Calipari in a vote of the league's coaches?

In the four seasons before Calipari took over at Kentucky, the Wildcats lost an average of 13 games a season, produced just two NCAA tournament victories and even stooped to play in the NIT. Calipari instantly turned that around upon taking over for Billy Gillispie, blending a star-studded recruiting class with a solid group of returnees to transform Kentucky into a Final Four contender.

Stallings deserves credit for leading Vanderbilt to a second-place finish in the SEC, but let's look at the facts here.

• Kentucky won the SEC East; Vanderbilt finished two games back.

• Kentucky (29-2) has already won seven more games than it did last year; Vanderbilt (23-7) has won four more.

• Kentucky played Vanderbilt twice in the regular season and won both times.

You could argue that Stallings has done more with less talent, but that premise doesn't hold up in college hoops. Recruiting is the single most important aspect of any college basketball coach's job description, so they should not be penalized for doing that job well.

Had the SEC coaches voted Tennessee's Bruce Pearl as coach of the year instead of Calipari, they could have justified it somewhat by pointing to the adversity the Vols have overcome this season to return to the NCAA tournament.

But Stallings? C'mon. Hatred has never been this transparent.

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