John Calipari adds to Kentucky basketball legacy, reaching 400 wins, vs. Mississippi State

LEXINGTON — John Calipari made more history Wednesday in Kentucky's 90-77 victory over Mississippi State at Rupp Arena.

It marked his 400th win at UK, becoming the fourth SEC coach to reach that mark at one school. The only other coaches to achieve that feat: Adolph Rupp (876 wins at Kentucky), Billy Donovan (467 at Florida) and Dale Brown (448 at LSU).

"I literally did not know until their player came up to me … and said, ‘Congratulations on 400,’" Calipari said during his postgame news conference. "And I went, ‘Oh (shoot), I forgot about it.’ One of their players. My players, they don’t have any idea. They just want to know what we’re eating. (Like), ‘We have food back here?'

"All I would say to you is, you stay long enough and you have enough really good players, a lot of those things happen."

With Wednesday's win, Calipari owns 188 SEC regular-season victories. That ranks fifth in the league's annals, trailing Rupp (397), Brown (238), Donovan (200) and former Alabama and Vanderbilt coach C.M. Newton (195).

"I'm proud of coach Cal," freshman guard Rob Dillingham said. "I'm thankful for him because he helps so much. He teaches me and pushes me to be the best, even though I don't like it all the time."

Calipari reached 400 victories in 516 games with the Wildcats (400-116). He's the third-quickest active Division I coach to 400 wins at the same school; only Kansas' Bill Self (400 wins in 484 games) and Gonzaga's Mark Few (400 wins in 499 games) needed fewer games.

The 516 games Calipari needed are the eighth fewest by a Division I coach to achieve 400 wins.

"He's the GOAT," freshman 7-footer Aaron Bradshaw said of Calipari, using a well-known acronym that stands for "greatest of all time" and noting the coach's reputation is why he picked Kentucky in the first place. "Just knowing he's that good of a coach? You would want to play for him. So all due respect to him."

Calipari leads active Division I coaches in numerous categories, including:

  • On-court victories: 845 (NCAA-recognized total is 803 after vacated wins are included)

  • Wins as No. 1 team in Associated Press poll: 110

  • Wins against No. 1 team in AP rankings: Six

  • NCAA Tournament victories: 57

  • Sweet 16 appearances: 15

  • 20-win seasons: 27

  • 30-win seasons: 10

For all his success with the Wildcats, dating back to his first season in 2009-10, Calipari said he couldn't care less.

He's "not doing this for numbers," he said.

“You can see I’m locked into, 'How can I help these players?' Some of it is — you know how you help them? You put them on a bench. You just sit them. That’s how you help them," Calipari said. "Other times, you’ve got to hug them. You're giving them books for positive thinking and different things to get them to think different.

"You’re trying to teach them habits because their dominant habits are not real good when you’re 19 and 20 (years old). ... You try to create new ones. And then every day it's a battle of push and pull."

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Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky basketball news: John Calipari reaches 400 wins with Wildcats