Posted on: March 24, 2010 9:15 pm
UTEP coach Tony Barbee has accepted an offer to become Auburn's next coach, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
An official announcement is expected Thursday.
Barbee spent four years at UTEP and led the Miners to a Conference USA title and NCAA tournament berth this season. He was an assistant under John Calipari at Memphis before accepting the UTEP job. Some obvious candidates to replace Barbee at UTEP are Sam Houston State's Bob Marlin, former USC coach Tim Floyd and former Kentucky and UTEP coach Billy Gillispie.
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:43 am
Edited on: January 21, 2010 12:53 am
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- UTEP beat Memphis here at FedExForum on Wednesday night.
Thus, the 64-game Conference USA winning streak is over.
Memphis had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to tie. But that chance resulted in a Willie Kemp turnover, and when Christian Polk sank a pair of free throws the Miners -- with three starters from Memphis -- exited the court with a 72-67 win. Afterward I talked to UTEP coach (and former Memphis assistant) Tony Barbee about it, and he was predictably pleased -- just like Randy Culpepper, the Memphis City Schools product who got a huge steal and layup in the final minute to create a cushion for the Miners. Then I packed my stuff, got in my car and drove out of downtown while listening to the Tigers postgame show, and the callers presented one reason after another for the streak ending at 64, many of which revolved around the pressure of the streak itself.
But that's not really true.
Want to know why Memphis lost for the first time in 65 C-USA games?
It's because Memphis was out-manned for the first time in 65 C-USA games.
End of streak.
"I think so, too," Barbee responded when I told him I thought he had better players than Memphis, and -- don't get it twisted -- he didn't mean it in a disrespectful way. Barbee went on to talk about the dominance of the Memphis program, everything it lost when John Calipari left for Kentucky, and the fact that Josh Pastner is recruiting at a level that'll have the Tigers nationally relevant again soon. "But this is a rebuilding year," Barbee said. "No coach ever wants to say it. But Josh knows this is a rebuilding year."
Credit Barbee for nailing it.
It would've been easy for him to stand there and act like he just beat a Memphis team like the Memphis teams led by Rodney Carney or Chris Douglas-Roberts or Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans, but that's not the type of Memphis team he beat. Rather, he beat a Memphis team that lost its top four scorers from last season as well as a recruiting class that would've included John Wall, Xavier Henry, DeMarcus Cousins and Darnell Dodson, and it's not going to be too difficult for teams with two pros -- like UTEP has with Arnett Moultrie and Derrick Caracter -- to beat that kind of team, even if said team plays in jerseys with "Memphis" stitched across the front.
That said, it's still a big win for UTEP.
It's a win that put the Miners' talent on display on a larger-than-usual stage, a statement-win that suggests UTEP is good enough to win C-USA and make the NCAA tournament for the first time in Barbee's four seasons. Beyond that, it was special for the Memphis guys in the UTEP uniforms -- specifically Moultrie, Culpepper and Jeremy Williams, none of whom were seriously recruited by Memphis out of high school.
They combined for 34 points against the Tigers.
So the Memphis streak was basically broken by Memphis products.
"It's big for them because they grew up wanting to play for Memphis," Barbee said. Later, Culpepper echoed that thought, and added that he had actually been pulling for the Tigers to win their first three league games so that he could play a role in ending the C-USA winning streak.
"I wanted them to win all their games," Culpepper said. "I didn't want anybody to beat them until we got our chance."
That chance came Wednesday night.
"And we were ready," Culpepper said. "It's a great win for us."
Posted on: March 30, 2009 4:14 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2009 4:19 pm
John Calipari is scheduled to meet with a prominent Memphis booster late Monday afternoon, at which time he is expected to make a pitch for UTEP coach Tony Barbee to succeed him at Memphis if Calipari indeed leaves Memphis for Kentucky, a source close to Calipari told CBSSports.com.
The source said Calipari would promise to help Barbee keep parts of the team and recruiting class intact.
Barbee played for Calipari at UMass and assisted him at Memphis until taking the UTEP job in 2006.
He's 53-43 in three seasons at UTEP.
A source close to the Memphis program said Calipari assured Barbee last offseason that if he pulled out of the UMass search and cleared the way for Memphis assistant Derek Kellogg to land that job that Calipari would push Barbee as a possible successor at Memphis. Barbee quickly pulled out, Kellogg got the UMass job, and now Calipari is making good on his word, trying to help Barbee at Memphis.
Posted on: January 22, 2009 3:36 pm
Tony Barbee confirmed Thursday to CBSSports.com that Derrick Caracter is enrolled at UTEP, paying his own way and on track to play for the Miners in December of next season.
"He started classes Monday," said Barbee, the UTEP coach who was making his first public comments on the subject.
Caracter is best-known as the highly touted prodigy who signed with Louisville out of high school but never reached his potential for a variety of reasons spanning from his weight to constant run-ins with Rick Pitino. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds at Louisville last season, but grade issues and a nudge from Pitino paved the way for an exit from the team that now looks like a Big East contender.
How did UTEP get involved?
Barbee recruited Caracter out of high school while he was an assistant at Memphis. So the former aid to John Calipari has long been familiar with Caracter, and he had him come in for a visit in December. Once all the financial aid requirements were met, Barbee said he decided to offer Caracter a chance to restart his once-promising career.
"Every 17 year-old and 18 year-old has made mistakes, and when you're a high-profile recruit those mistakes get magnified on the national scene," Barbee said. "But just like any other 17 year-old or 18 year-old kid, he deserves a second chance, and I think he wants to do the right things."
Posted on: January 6, 2009 5:24 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2009 12:26 am
Tony Barbee will coach UTEP in a game tonight at New Mexico.
If he's lucky, he won't get screwed again by the officials.
Did you hear about this story?
It was off the radar for much of the nation because A) It happened late on Dec. 30, and B) most aren't in tune with what happens at UTEP or Santa Clara. But what happened was a game-altering officiating mistake that cost the Miners a win and led to the suspension of three West Coast Conference officials.
Here's the deal: UTEP had the lead and the ball late in overtime, but a Santa Clara player stole an inbounds pass and quickly called a timeout. In fact, the referee (identified by sources as Thomas Wood) awarded the timeout but was then told Santa Clara had no timeouts remaining. As you know from watching Chris Webber, that means a technical foul should've been levied against Santa Clara and UTEP should've got the ball back. But rather than go that route, Wood declared his whistle inadvertent, and I'll just ask one question: When's the last time you heard of an inadvertent whistle in a college basketball game?
Answer: It never happens.
But if you want to believe that Wood really did merely blow an inadvertent whistle with 2.3 seconds remaining in OT, that's fine, because that's not even why the guy was suspended. You see, though an inadvertent whistle should've allowed Santa Clara to take the ball out of bounds, the Broncos should not have been allowed to make any substitutions. That's according to NCAA Rule 3, Section 4, Article 6 -- which states that substitutions are forbidden because of timing mistakes or inadvertent whistles in the final 59.9 seconds of regulation or overtime.
Pretty clear, right?
But the officiating crew -- which included Wood, Bruce Hicks and Alan Pierce -- allowed Santa Clara to check-in John Bryant, the all-league player who is averaging 17.9 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, and you'll never guess what happened next. Yep, Bryant took the ball, collided with UTEP's Claude Britton and scored, and though one official called it a charge, another called it a block, and -- presumably because the game was being played at Santa Clara -- the crew decided to go with the blocking call, which gave Santa Clara an 89-88 victory.
Naturally, UTEP (via Conference USA) protested the ending.
On Friday, the West Coast Conference suspended the three officials for a game.
"Our review of the video focused on the final moments of overtime," WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said in a statement. "Our focus quickly became that substitutions were permitted by the officials at a critical time in the game when the rule book clearly lays out that they should not be permitted. We take the interpretation of the rule book, and our evaluation program very seriously, and will continue to do so in all of our sports."
Reached by phone, Barbee said: "I know what I saw there was a timeout asked for by Santa Clara and a timeout awarded by the official, and for whatever reason when the official was alerted by the Santa Clara bench that they were out of timeouts he changed his call to an inadvertent whistle, which triggered the illegal substitution in the first place. I hate to see anybody lose their livlihood for any amount of time during these difficult economic times, but officials have to be held accountable for egregious mistakes just like coaches are."
Posted on: September 10, 2008 2:00 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2008 2:26 pm
Though all the attention this week has been on the 1966 Texas Western basketball team (and rightfully so), focus will soon turn to the 2008-09 version led by Tony Barbee at the school now known as UTEP.
The Miners return three of their top four scorers - among them All-American candidate Stefon Jackson, who averaged 23.6 points per game as a junior -- from a 19-win team that made the semifinals of March's C-USA Tournament. Consequently, the program could be poised for a breakthrough season in Barbee's third year, particularly if transfer Kareem Cooper shows the talent that made him part of the Laurinburg Prep squad that finished 40-0 in 2005.
Like Laurinburg teammates Shawne Williams, Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, Cooper signed with Memphis out of prep school. The 7-foot center averaged 4.2 points in 10.9 minutes per contest in two seaons while helping the Tigers to back-to-back Elite Eights. But a string of off-the-court issues led to Cooper ultimately transferring to UTEP in the summer of 2007, at which time he was an out-of-shape 315 pounds.
"But now he's down to 280," Barbee said. "He's been really strong to this point and done what we needed from him. Now he has to understand what's in front of him and understand this is probably his last stop. So he has to keep himself focused."
Will he start?
"I'll start the best players who give us the best chance to win," Barbee said. "But there's no question, he's one of the best players I have on my team."
Posted on: September 7, 2008 10:40 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2008 10:41 pm
If you're wondering why Don Haskins didn't attend a single UTEP game last season, it's because he had part of his foot amputated after complications from diabetes. And the surgery made walking difficult and eventually forced him into a wheelchair. And the Hall of Fame coach just wasn't going to let you view him like that.
"He was such a proud man," said Dan Wetzel, the author of Glory Road. "He didn't want people to see him that way."
With those words, Wetzel went quiet for a moment.
It was understandable.
The Yahoo! Sports columnist started the day covering a Dallas Cowboys game and ended it with the news that Haskins-- a man Wetzel said was "like a second father" -- died Sunday at the age of 78. That's a helluva tough way to spend the weekend, even if most close to Haskins knew his time was running out.
"The El Paso community and people who knew him best knew his health had gotten to a point that his better days were behind him," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said by phone while on his way to a press conference in El Paso. "But it's still a shock because it's a tragedy. He did so much for so many people."
Haskins' most famous achievement was how he broke color barriers in 1966 when he used five black starters to win the national title at Texas Western, now known as UTEP. It was a significant moment in college athletics, yet one that brought death threats to Haskins, who remained unfazed and by extension forced other programs from other leagues to change with the times.
For that, he'll forever be a relevant figure in history.
For Barbee, he was an asset in the short time they spent together.
"The wisdom he imparted on me in these past two years has been invaluable," said Barbee, who became UTEP's first black coach in 2006. "To have a guy like that to talk with and throw ideas off was something special. But he wasn't just a treasure to El Paso. He was a national treasure."
Posted on: April 19, 2008 10:58 am
Edited on: April 19, 2008 11:01 am
Proof that Derek Kellogg is likely to land the UMass job came Friday when Tony Barbee withdrew from consideration.
On the surface, Barbee's withdrawal makes no sense.
Barbee is a UMass graduate and man who has been successful recruiting the New England area. So the former Memphis assistant and current UTEP head coach was an obvious candidate to replace Travis Ford, particularly when considering Barbee was a finalist for the job when Ford was hired three years ago.
But Barbee withdrew Friday before the process even really got started.
Why, you ask?
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com it wasn't as much about Barbee not being interested as it was about Barbee being told he probably shouldn't be interested any longer by his former boss John Calipari. In other words, the sources said Calipari strongly suggested -- which is a nice way of writing "pretty much demanded" -- Barbee get out of the way of Kellogg, a Memphis assistant who, like Barbee, is a former player at UMass under Calipari.
So why does this suggest Kellogg is the UMass frontrunner?
Because it seems out of character for Calipari to run the risk if upsetting a former player and assistant like Barbee by preventing him from landing a job at his alma mater -- for more money, it's worth noting -- unless Calipari had some sort of assurance from the UMass administration that Kellogg is very much in play. There is no other way to view this. Which is why it was no surprise that Kellogg spent Friday interviewing with UMass officials within hours of Barbee publicly withdrawing, and why it'll be less of a surprise if he is named Ford's replacement at UMass early next week.