Transformation is a key word to include when describing the Kentucky basketball offseason. Transfers coming and going, high school recruits committing and decommitting, even new coaches appearing on the roster.
The latest in this cycle is the hiring of Illinois assistants Orlando Antigua and Ron “Chin” Coleman.
Antigua is a rather familiar face returning to the UK bench, as he spent the the first five seasons at Kentucky as an assistant under head coach John Calipari. His time was well spent to say the least, as UK made the Elite Eight four times in that span including winning the title in 2012. This time, he will serve as the associate coach.
“I am really excited to have Orlando back,” UK head coach John 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.”
Ron “Chin” Coleman will be a newer face on the sidelines for Kentucky. Coleman has spent 10 seasons as a college basketball assistant coach, and will add to his double-digit years as a member of the Wildcats.
“We must accept the end of something in order to begin something new, special and different,” he said.” To that end, I want to thank everyone at Illinois for the opportunity I was afforded the last four years. It was truly an honor, and I am proud of the success we achieved together. It takes courage to grow and become who you really are, and having the opportunity to coach at the University of Kentucky, work for John Calipari and be a member of Big Blue Nation is a dream come true. This is a different kind of place, one that coaches and players hope to one day be a part of. I am blessed to live that dream.”
The two openings came from UK assistant coaches Joel Justus and Tony Barbee leaving the program last month. Justus is now an assistant at Arizona State, while Barbee is the head coach at Central Michigan. Antigua and Coleman will occupy two of the three on-court assistant positions, while Jai Lucas will remain as the other assistant and Bruiser Flint will be elevated as the associate head coach.