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May 1, 2014
Rohrssen joining Kentucky basketball staff
The worst-kept secret in Kentucky basketball is out.
UK on Thursday announced the hiring of assistant coach Barry Rohrssen, a longtime friend of John Calipari, who will fill the staff position vacated by Orlando Antigua's departure to be head coach at South Florida.
It had been widely reported for weeks that Rohrssen, 53, would get the job. Two weeks ago, he resigned from his position at Pittsburgh. Last weekend, he was on the road at recruiting events and spotted wearing Kentucky clothing.
"It's an honor to be part of a program that has the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball," Rohrssen said in a release. "I was humbled when John Calipari asked me to become a member of his outstanding staff. Coach Cal embodies the meaning of the word 'success.' The way he prepares young men for their future, in both basketball and life, is remarkable. Additionally, I'm grateful to represent the most passionate fan base in sports, the Big Blue Nation."
Rohrssen, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., comes to Kentucky from Pitt, where he was in his second stint as an assistant coach, first under Ben Howland, then Jamie Dixon. He was the head coach at Manhattan from 2006-2011 and also has worked as an assistant at St. Francis (N.Y.) and with the Idaho Stampede of the NBDL. Rohrssen served as an administrative assistant and director of basketball operations at UNLV in the 1990s.
Rohrssen also has extensive international coaching experience. In 1991 and 1992, he represented the United States at the World International Championships in Poland and England, respectively. He co-coached an American All-Star team in 1998 that finished 5-0 in Tahiti. In 2000, he served as an assistant coach with a USA Junior Team that competed at an international tournament in Leon, Spain. Later that summer, Rohrssen helped lead a New York City squad to a gold medal title at the 2000 Empire State Games.
Rohrssen also has had an acting career on the side, appearing in three films, including Glengarry Glen Ross in 1992. He's set to appear in a fourth, the drama Affluenza, later this summer.
Calipari and Rohrssen have known each other for more than 30 years, first meeting at the Five-Star Camp run by Howard Garfinkel. When Calipari was the head coach at Memphis, he scheduled a game against Rohrssen's Manhattan team. At the time, Rohrssen told The (Memphis) Commercial-Appeal that Calipari was "like a brother to me."
"Barry has been part of my coaching family for the past 30-some years," Calipari said in a release. "We roomed together at Five Star as counselors, still in college, and have followed each others' careers on the court closely. I'm thrilled with what he brings to our staff, both on court and off, in terms of coaching, recruiting and mentoring these young men."
Along with ties to Calipari, Rohrssen has a strong recruiting reputation. He's known as one of the nation's top recruiting assistants, particularly in the New York City area. He helped Pitt secure a commitment from Mustapha Heron, the 19th-ranked player in the Class of 2016, and also been a primary recruiter on the No. 8 player in the Class of 2015, Cheick Diallo, who lists Kentucky and Pittsburgh among his top schools.
Matt Steinbrink, who covers Pittsburgh at Panther-Lair.com, called Rohrssen " one of the smoothest, most personable coaches in the country."
"Over the years, he has been in the living room and right there with a ton of prospects," Steinbrink said. "Having Calipari as his closer now, that is quite scary."