C.M. Newton first met Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari when he was still an assistant coach at Pittsburgh when Newton was coaching at Vanderbilt and faced Pitt in the NCAA Tournament.
He got to know Calipari much better when he was UK's athletics director and then-UK coach Rick Pitino "was mentoring" Calipari through his years at Massachusetts.
"I have always been impressed with him. He is a people person. He is very bright. He has very good skills as a coach and great understanding of the game and all the things you want in a basketball coach," Newton said. "I know he has been very interested in this job for some period of time. I was just thrilled when Mitch (Barnhart) and Dr. (Lee) Todd made the decision to hire him."
Part of that is because Newton knew Calipari would embrace UK fans.
"He gets it. He understands the Kentucky fan. He understands that the position as head coach is a position that whoever sits in it is not the key. It is being the coach at Kentucky that is the key," Newton said.