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Tony Barbee leaving UK for head coaching job at Central Michigan

tony barbee
Posted at 2:50 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 14:57:08-04

LEX18 News and BBN Tonight can confirm Tony Barbee is leaving the University of Kentucky basketball program. He will become the head coach for Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Barbee spent seven seasons with the Kentucky basketball program.

Most recently, Barbee served as the associate to the head coach, where he played a central role in helping head coach John Calipari run the program. Previously, he worked five seasons as an assistant coach and was the special assistant to the head coach in his first season at UK, in 2014-15.

In the past several seasons, Barbee also played a key role in Kentucky's game management and "Xs and Os" approach as an assistant, had taken on an increased responsibility in game planning and scouting opponents, and helped Coach Calipari formulate the team's approach in practices and in games. Before his time at Kentucky, Barbee served as the head coach at UTEP and Auburn.

The news follows several days of speculation regarding off-season staff changes with the Kentucky basketball program. LEX18 News can confirm now-former assistant coach and lead recruiter Joel Justus is also leaving his position with UK to become an assistant coach at Arizona State. Justus helped land players including Bam Adebayo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyler Herro, Ashton Hagens, Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley.

tony barbee joel justus
Tony Barbee. Joel Justus. Kentucky beat South Carolina, 92-64. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Official replacements have not been named for either position at this time.

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