LEX18 — After weeks of speculation, it's now official. Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman are joining the Kentucky basketball coaching staff. Both Antigua and Coleman come to Lexington from Illinois, where they took the Fighting Illini to the 2021 NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed.
Now, they join a new-look John Calipari staff, which now consists of Calipari, Bruiser Flint, Jai Lucas, Antigua and Coleman. Former assistants Tony Barbee and Joel Justus left the program last month and have both accepted coaching positions with other programs.
Antigua is no stranger to Calipari or the Big Blue Nation. He worked under Calipari at Memphis during the 2008-09 season, then following Coach Cal to Lexington, where he was a key member of the UK staff from 2009-2014. In addition to Memphis, Kentucky and Illinois, Antigua has also spent time as the head coach of the South Florida Bulls and of the Dominican Republic National Basketball Team.
“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.”
During Antigua’s first stint at Kentucky, featuring the 2009-10 season through the 2013-14 national runner-up run, UK compiled a 152-37 record (80.4%) with a national championship, three Final Four appearances, and two Southeastern Conference regular-season titles and two SEC Tournament crowns.
Known for his eye on the recruiting trail, Antigua helped UK pull in five straight top-ranked recruiting classes (Recruiting Services Consensus Index). In his initial season with the Wildcats, Antigua saw three of his signees drafted in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He was a central figure in the 2010 and 2011 No. 1 classes, which led UK to its eighth national title in 2012 and its first since 1998. As a result, Antigua was named one of Yahoo! Sports’ top 10 college basketball recruiters. In May of 2012, he was listed by ESPN.com as the top assistant coach in the country under the age of 40. ESPN included Antigua in the top five of the most feared assistant coaches on the recruiting trail in 2013.
Coleman has 10 seasons of college coaching experience with time spent at Illinois, UIC, Bradley, Nebraska and Colorado State.
Coleman was instrumental in the development of Ayo Dosunmu, one of the country’s best point guards over the last three seasons. Under Coleman’s guidance, Dosunmu raked in dozens of national and conference honors, including USA Today National Player of the Year, Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year and NCAA Consensus All-America First Team honors. He averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 assists per game to lead Illinois to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
With Coleman on the bench, Illinois posted back-to-back 20-win seasons the last two years for the first time since the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and finished second in the Big Ten in 2021. With Coleman serving as a defensive coordinator in 2020-21, the Illini finished seventh in the country in the Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive rankings and hovered around the top spot for much of the season.
“Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman is in the same mold as Orlando,” Calipari said. “You are talking about another upbeat, positive coach who is going to bring the spirt that has always been a part of our culture. He has earned his stripes through hard work and building relationships around the country. 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.
For more on the hires, watch BBN Tonight weeknights at 7:30 on LEX18 News, or anytime on BBNTonight.com.