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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
John Calipari weighing Dominican job

Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky coach John Calipari is mulling a chance to coach the Dominican Republic national team.

Calipari posted on his website Tuesday that he has been approached by Dominican officials about taking over the team in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Calipari
Calipari

"My question to the Dominican Basketball Federation was, why are you calling me?" Calipari posted. "Their response was, they liked what we are doing in China, including coaching their coaches and being involved in promoting grassroots basketball."

Calipari says he would spend about six weeks with the team from August through mid-September, preparing it for the Tournament of the Americas.

The team would practice at Kentucky's Joe Craft Center before the tournament, which will be held in Brazil. The Dominican Republic has never qualified for the Olympics in men's basketball.

Calipari says he would also help train Dominican coaches. He has a similar relationship with coaches in China. He gave no timetable on his decision.

The 2009 Dominican Republic team that competed in the FIBA Americas championships featured several NBA players, including Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford and Sacramento Kings swingman Francisco Garcia. The team finished fifth in the tournament with a 4-4 record.

Calipari wouldn't be the first big-time American coach to lead a foreign squad.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino is scheduled to coach the Puerto Rican national team in the same tournament this fall, though Pitino said Tuesday there's a chance the deal could fall through because NCAA rules would prevent the Cardinals from playing a series of exhibitions against the team.

Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson unsuccessfully tried to get Mexico into the 2008 Olympics, and longtime NBA coach Del Harris led China to an eighth-place finish in the 2004 Olympics.