Kentucky adds two assistant coaches from Illinois staff

Feb 20, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of assistant coaches most recently at Illinois are joining John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky.

Calipari announced Thursday the addition of Orlando Antigua, who previously served on his staff, as associate head coach and Ronald “Chin” Coleman as assistant coach.

The two were credited with helping to develop Ayo Dosunmu, a consensus first-team All-American this past season, and Kofi Cockburn, a second-team All-American, at Illinois. The Illini finished the season at 24-7 and were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky finished 9-16 and failed to make the tournament for the first time since 2013.

Antigua was on the Wildcats’ bench in the first five seasons of Calipari’s tenure in Lexington (2009-13) and also worked with him at Memphis.

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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.”

He was equally enthusiastic about Coleman.

“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,” Calipari said.

Antigua and Coleman fill the spots on the coaching staff that were left vacant when former associate to the head coach Tony Barbee became the head coach at Central Michigan and former assistant coach Joel Justus was hired as the lead assistant at Arizona State.

Remaining on the staff are Jai Lucas, and Bruiser Flint, both entering their second seasons at Kentucky.

Antigua left Kentucky before the 2014-15 season to become head coach at South Florida, where he posted a 23-55 mark in three seasons. He spent the past four seasons on the Illinois bench and has nearly 20 years of coaching experience.

Coleman has 10 seasons of college coaching experience, working at Illinois, UIC, Bradley, Nebraska and Colorado State.

“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,” Coleman said. “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.”

–Field Level Media