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Checking in with the Newtons, UK Royalty

By Larry Vaught

Before he became athletics director at Samford, Martin Newton was director of basketball operations at Kentucky for coach John Calipari.

Newton’s son, Charles, is now an assistant coach at Samford under former UK star Scott Padgett. He says his father and Calipari still communicate regularly.

“Cal will hear something and call my dad or my dad will shoot him a text after a game. I hope people at Kentucky really appreciate and understand how special he is. He never loses contact with anybody that helps along the way,” Newton said. “My father had a huge hand in the hiring of John Calipari to Kentucky and Cal will still contact him about things going on here.

“It is really cool. That’s the type of guy that coach Cal is. He is unbelievable man and really helps everybody and still talks to all his guys. It is a special thing that not many coaches will do.”

So that must meaning having his father as AD where he works is great, right?

“He is a pain in the butt,” Charles Newton joked. “No, he is a real basketball guy and it is awesome to have my father there. Good for our staff. Horrible for me because I get blamed for everything.

Newton _Snapseed

“He is a basketball guy and he knows what it takes to win. He worked for Nike 20-some years. We get basically what we want. Now some of those players have to get in there and produce and make him look good. He is doing all this to give us nice stuff and we have to make him look good.”


Newton’s grandfather, C.M., coached at Alabama and Vanderbilt. He was athletics director at Kentucky when Rick Pitino was hired. He’s worked for the Southeastern Conference and USA Basketball.

“Since I was born, my granddad — I call him Coach — put a basketball in my hand and my father did,” Newton said. “I grew up and got to travel when my dad was with the NBA and Nike. Got to meet guys like Avery Johnson. I didn’t have a choice. Charles Martin IV, my son, already is telling me he wants to play with his daddy. But basketball is special and what bonds us all together.”

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