"He followed me," Calipari said. "When I left, he stepped into that spot at Kansas."
And then a few moments later, Calipari told a story that reminded the rest of us that like Self, he paid his dues, that not everything in his career was always sweetness and light. He noted that "spot" was a lot less glamorous than it sounded, recalling his job interview with Ted Owens, Brown's predecessor at Kansas.
"I said, 'What position?' He said, 'volunteer.' I said, 'how much does that guy make?'"
The answer was nothing. The job was almost worse than the pay. When he wasn't soaking up lessons on the practice court, Calipari was manning the serving line in the team's athletic dining room.
"'Would you like peas or corn?'" he recalled, slipping back into the role. "Peas? Great.' I served the baseball team, basketball team, football team.
"They had steak," Calipari said wistfully. "I never had steak growing up."
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.
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