CatsIllustrated - UK assistant Tony Barbee named head coach at Central Michigan
basketball Edit

UK assistant Tony Barbee named head coach at Central Michigan

After spending the last seven years on John Calipari's staff at Kentucky, Tony Barbee is moving back to the head coaching ranks.

Central Michigan officially introduced Barbee as its new leader on Friday.

“The last seven seasons at Kentucky have been incredible,” Barbee said in a statement released by UK. “To have the opportunity to coach at a historic and tradition-rich school like Kentucky has been a dream come true, and I want to thank Coach Cal and Mitch Barnhart for placing their faith in me to be a part of this storied program.

"From the moment I first put on that jersey as a player at UMass through my time at Memphis and most recently at Kentucky as an assistant, Coach Cal has been a mentor to me. I have learned so much from him, and the players-first approach that we have instilled at every place we have been together will carry on with me at Central Michigan."

Calipari coached Barbee during his time at UMass and maintained a strong relationship with his former player over the years.

“Tony is one of the best coaches I have ever coached with or against,” Calipari said. “He has an unbelievable basketball mind. The game plans that he put together for us, especially on defense, were second to none.

"I have known him since he was 15, and I know how much this game means to him. He is my brother and always will be. I expect big things to happen for Central Michigan and their players under Tony’s leadership. He is ready for this and I look forward to watching his success.”

Barbee previously held head coaching jobs at UTEP and Auburn.

It marks the second departure from Calipari's UK staff this week following news that Joel Justus accepted a position at Arizona State.

Numerous reports have linked former Calipari assistant Orlando Antigua to one of those vacancies. He and fellow Illinois assistant Ron "Chin" Coleman have been rumored to be joining the Wildcats in the wake of the latest moves.