Players First

Coaching from the Inside Out
Narrated by: Chuck Montgomery
Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (243 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.50

Buy for $24.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In Players First, John Calipari relates for the first time anywhere his experiences over his first four years coaching the Kentucky Wildcats, college basketball's most fabled program, from the doldrums to a national championship, drawing lessons about leadership, character, and the path to personal and collective victory. At its core, Calipari's coaching philosophy centers on keeping his focus on the players - what they need to get the best out of themselves and one another. He is beloved by his players for being utterly honest with them and making promises that he always keeps, no matter what. He knows that in this age, they come to Kentucky to prepare for the NBA; every year he gets players who in a previous era would have gone directly into the pros from high school but now have to play college basketball for one year. Calipari has fought against this system, but he has to play within it, and so he does, better than anyone.

The result is an extraordinary leadership challenge: every year Coach Cal gets a handful of eighteen-year-old kids who have been in a bubble for the previous four years at least, filled with hype about their own greatness, and they come to Kentucky feeling sure that they will play for their coach only for seven months before they go on to greater glory. Every year, he has to reinvent his team. After his 2012 NCAA championship, it was particularly dramatic; he lost his first six players in the first round, meaning that someone who couldn't even start for Kentucky was a first-round draft pick.

The overall record at Kentucky, and for his career, puts Calipari in the pantheon of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. Bold, funny, and truthful, like Coach Calipari himself, Players First is truly the first deep reckoning with the meaning of his experiences and the gifts of insight they offer.

©2014 John Calipari and Michael Sokolove (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Players First

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    151
  • 4 Stars
    57
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    137
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    131
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

IU alum and fan...now loves Calipari

When I heard Coach Calipari's interview on ESPN's Mike and Mike, I knew I had to read his book. There's so much more to the man than appears from a distance. I think I'm going to find myself rooting for Big Blue with him on the sidelines...until they come up against the Cream and Crimson.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I became a much bigger fan of John Calipari...

Any additional comments?

This book covers a lot of ground about Kentucky basketball and the reasons the program, and John Calipari, is so successful. A strong reading performance and great, candid stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in coaching or Kentucky basketball.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

must read

I loved the scope of the book overall but also the references to why recruit this kid over that kid. Or what made this kid more advantageous to play in our team needs than that kid. a great inside lool

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Calipari is great

I loved how Calipari talked about his strategy and his approach to coaching. He gave me some great ideas to try with my team.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

for any mentor

Whether you're a coach, instructor, manager or mentor, this book will improve your confidence and renew your passion as a leader. Time well spent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

For the Wildcat and Aspiring Coach

Good examples. Best for overall ideas on coaching styles. Also good for Wildcat fans, as there's quite a bit about stats and accomplishments.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you love basketball you'll love this book.

Easy to get through. Great narration. I would recommend this book to new and novice basketball coaches.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great flowing book. Easy to listen to.

Narration was perfect. Must listen/read for any UK fan. I'm off to find more from this narrator.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great

Great book. Good listen and very informative
Recommend buying. Well worth it.
This book changed my view on coaching.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Audiobook

Fantastic look inside the mind of a very successful coach. Some inspiring and thought provoking content for coaches of all levels.