Last week, Kentucky hired Bruiser Flint to be an assistant coach on the basketball staff. The move was in reaction to the loss of associate head coach Kenny Payne, who left to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff at the New York Knicks.
In making the move to an assistant position at Kentucky, Flint is now reunited with UK Head Coach John Calipari, who he played for and coached under as a grad assistant at UMass back in the early 1990’s.
When asked about teaming up with Calipari once again, Flint talked about how the long-time coach is not afraid to change, but also sticks with the same teaching principles.
”One thing about (Coach) Cal is he’s always open to change differently, although he always does things the same…he stays with his principle, but I think he’s not afraid to experiment with some of his basketball,” he said.
Flint continued on joking about how Calipari is for sure not as crazy nowadays on the sideline as he was 30 years ago at UMass.
“He’s a lot less crazy than he was back in those days at UMass,” he said. “I know you all think he’s crazy at Kentucky now, but it’s not even close to his UMass days.”
The newly-hired assistant was later asked if he ever considered Calipari and him teaming up again after Coach Cal left UMass to coach the New Jersey Nets back in the 1990’s, to which he responded saying that while it wouldn’t have been expected, he is otherwise blessed to be in this position.
No, I never though I’d work for him (Calipari) again. To be honest with you, I didn’t think I’d be an assistant coach again, but things change,” he said. I’ve been fortunate to not only just come to Kentucky, but to go to Indiana then to Kentucky.”
Flint gained a few years of experiences as an assistant coach at Indiana under Archie Miller before coming to Kentucky, and even without being the head man on the sideline, he says there is still pressure.
“I think all assistant coaches, especially with social media, have pressure because they can talk about you,” he said. “There’s always pressure, there’s pressure to bring in players — the better your players are, the better your coach is.”
Leaving Indiana basketball as an assistant to take the same position at Kentucky might anger folks in the Hoosier state considering the old rivalry between the two schools, but because of the close relationship between he, Calipari and Miller, Flint says he made sure the move was not a big issue.
”Honestly I just wanted to make sure our relationship stayed the same before I came here. I want us to have a good relationship, we’re best of friends, and I appreciate that relationship,” he said. “I don’t want it to have to be messed up because of who I came to work for.”
With that all said, Flint provided some hope that the Kentucky-Indiana regular season series might one day be played again, but then said laughingly that the decision is above him.
“I don’t think that’s part of my job description, I’ll put it to you that way,” he said.
Bruiser Flint will be a key piece in the Kentucky basketball staff, and he surely seems ready with prior experiences coaching under John Calipari and at Indiana to take on the role.