Kentucky coach John Calipari completed his offseason staff shake-up on Thursday as Orlando Antigua and Ron Coleman joined John Calipari's coaching staff to fill the roles left by Joel Justus, who left for Arizona State and Tony Barbee, who was recently named Central Michigan's head coach, the program announced. Antigua joins the program as associate coach and Coleman as an assistant.
Both Antigua and Coleman come to the Wildcats via Illinois after spending time on the coaching staff under Brad Underwood, with Antigua's hire reuniting him after spending time on Calipari's staff first at Memphis and later at Kentucky. The hires follow a 9-16 season in Lexington, which marked the lowest win total for Calipari in a season as a head coach during his career.
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"I am really excited to have Orlando back," Calipari said. "I think everyone knows what we were able to do with Orlando as a part of our staff going to the Sweet Sixteen in our final season at Memphis and making three Final Fours with a national title at Kentucky in his five seasons. But aside from our team success, he brings an uplifting spirit and a work ethic that helps create relationships that are so needed in college basketball within your own team and on the recruiting trail. All of that starts within our staff, and I am excited that he wanted to be back here with us to get our program back to where we know it needs to be."
Kentucky also announced that Bruiser Flint will be moved to associate to the head coach while Jai Lucas will remain in his role in the other assistant coaching position. Lucas, Coleman and Antigua will comprise the three on-court assistant coaching positions for the upcoming seasons.
"Ron 'Chin' Coleman is in the same mold as Orlando," Calipari said. "You are talking about another upbeat, positive coach who is going to bring the spirit that has always been a part of our culture. He has earned his stripes through hard work and building relationships around the country. Chin is a grinder, someone who relishes that time in the gym with the kids to help add value to your current players, yet he never takes his eyes off the lifeline of our program, which is recruiting."
The news of Coleman and Antigua's hiring had been expected for weeks as CBS Sports' Matt Norlander reported on April 22, but the formal introduction came on Thursday. It coincided -- perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not -- with the Wildcats picking up a ton of momentum on the recruiting trail in their pursuit of five-star TyTy Washington. Washington is expected to make his commitment next week with Kentucky increasingly looking like the most likely destination.
Antigua and Coleman join the UK program after its first sub-.500 season in more than three decades but Calipari has quietly put together a nice roster this offseason for Coleman and Antigua to work with thanks to recent transfer additions CJ Fredrick, Kellan Grady and Oscar Tshiebwe. The transfer trio ties together a solid incoming recruiting class that could make a major leap in the rankings if Washington joins the fold.