Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coach Cal on Social Networking and Kentucky vs. Cornell in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen

I may live in Amherst, but, as an academic, I certainly "get around." Last year, I gave invited talks at various universities and colleges in the US as well as in Europe.

Given the big NCAA basketball game tonight (Yes, I am speaking about Kentucky vs. Cornell) I could not help but reflect on some of the favorite venues that I spoke at last year that have a connection to the Kentucky vs. Cornell basketball game tonight.

I gave two talks at the University of Memphis in October 2008 and was hosted by Dean Rajiv Grover there and my former doctoral student, Professor Tina Wakolbinger, of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. Of course, while at the U. of Memphis, I also had to visit Coach Cal (John Calipari) and the photo above was taken in his office. You may notice a lot of UMass Amherst memorabilia. He had been our men's basketball coach earlier in his career and has many friends here. His older daughter even graduated from UMass Amherst. Coach Cal was his usual charismatic and incredibly friendly self and I enjoyed talking with him and reminiscing.

Of course, as the whole world knows, Coach Cal is now the coach of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, which is playing tonight against Cornell. The New York Times had a terrific article on Coach Cal and his use of social networking media to get the news out to his fans around the globe.

On April 1, 2009, I gave a talk at Cornell University and was hosted by my colleague, Professor Kieran Donaghy, and I had a superb time. I was joined by another former doctoral student of mine, Professor June Dong, who drove from SUNY Oswego and who is a Professor at the School of Business there, along with her husband. It is very sweet that an Ivy League university has made the Sweet Sixteen again (last time this happened was in 1979 with UPENN).

The Kentucky vs. Cornell game tonight will be a very interesting basketball game! Indeed, this is the hot topic in our neighborhood.

**** an update on this story **** Kentucky ended up beating Cornell with a score of 62-45 and proceeds now to the Elite 8. Interestingly, Syracuse got beaten by Butler. Kentucky will be matched against West Virgina in a game to take place over the weekend.