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John Calipari visits UMass for pre-Hall of Fame induction breakfast

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Kentucky head coach John Calipari answers questions from the media during a NCAA Tournament news conference on Friday, March 20, 2015, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)

(Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)

Former Massachusetts basketball coach John Calipari spent some time on UMass’ campus Friday morning prior to his upcoming induction into the National Basketball Hall of Fame later in the day.

Calipari, the current coach of Kentucky, spoke alongside other inductees of the Hall of Fame’s 11-member 2015 class in Thursday’s pre-induction press conference in Springfield, home of the Hall of Fame. As coach of the Minutemen from 1988-1996, Calipari reflected warmly on his time at UMass and acknowledged the great opportunity the position presented him as a young coach looking for his first head coaching job.

“I took the UMass job — and just so you know, I was their third choice — but I took the job because it was job I could get. It was a Division I job I could get,” he said to reporters at Thursday’s press conference. “When you’re coaching, somebody’s got to give you your first job. I was 29-years-old and it gave me an opportunity to be a head coach and figure things out.

“I was blessed to have a great job and great people and a great staff.”

Calipari revisited his Amherst roots Friday morning in what appeared to be a University-hosted breakfast in honor of his enshrinement.

He chronicled his visit in a series of tweets:

Calipari followed up on his promise with a series of photos of him with his former players and colleagues, as well as current UMass administration members.

Here he is with UMass chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy in the Football Performance Center:

As part of the breakfast, Calipari received a gift that was presented by Subbaswamy:

   

Following the gathering, Calipari stopped by UMass’ new Champions Center practice facility and provided a healthy endorsement for UMass:

Calipari will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame Friday night with the ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. He will also have his jersey retired by UMass during its regular season game against New Orleans on Dec. 16.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twtiter @a_chiusano24.

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