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Auburn coaching staff… Calipari made you

Coach Cal will see a lot of familiar faces on the Auburn bench tonight when the Tigers come into Rupp Arena to try to score more than six points in the first half.  Five members of the Auburn coaching staff have Calipari ties, including head coach Tony Barbee who says he still talks to Calipari at least three times a week.  And I think he means they actually have conversations, not just that he listens to Coach Cal’s Lexicast.

If by some Auburn miracle this game is close, expect to here Coach Cal shouting, “I brought you into this game and I can you take you out!” towards the Auburn bench.

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Tony Barbee, Head Coach

Auburn head coach Tony Barbee played four seasons at UMass for Calipari from 89-93 where he was a two-time Atlantic-10 second team selection and helped lead UMass to the A-10 Tournament Championships in 1992 and 1993.  Barbee rejoined the Minutemen in 1996 as a graduate assistant on the Final Four team with Marcus Camby that posted a 35-2 record.  When Coach Cal took the Memphis job, he brought Barbee along with him as an assistant where Barbee coached for six years before taking the head coaching job at UTEP in 2006.

The two opposing coaches are so close that Calipari let Barbee sit in on Kentucky’s practice yesterday.  Surely that’s not a common practice in conference games.

Milt Wagner, Assistant Coach

Auburn assistant Milt Wagner was the coordinator of basketball operations at Memphis for six years with Calipari and Barbee from 2000-06.  He’s also the father of DaJuan Wagner, one of Coach Cal’s first big time NBA prospects.  On a non-Calipari note, Milt Wagner played guard for Louisville and averaged 15.7 points per game against Kentucky from 1983-1986.  Small world, huh?

Steve Smith, Executive Director of Basketball

Calipari was the best man at Smith’s wedding.  Their relationship goes back to the UMass days when Smith was Cal’s personal assistant.

Mike Babul, Director of Basketball Operations

Babul signed to play for Coach Cal at UMass in the fall of 1995 but missed out on Calipari when he jumped to the NBA to coach the Nets.  The two were reunited in Memphis when Babul was hired as an administrative assistant for the 2003-2004 season.  The following year, Babul was a full-time assistant for John Robic (current UK assistant) at Youngstown State.

Nathaniel Root, Video Coordinator

It’s not all NBA preparation and head coach mentoring, Coach Cal molds young video coordinating minds too.  Auburn’s video coordinator played at Memphis during Coach Cal’s first four seasons on the job from 2000 to 2004.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

18 Comments for Auburn coaching staff… Calipari made you



  1. InterestingIfTrue
    1:07 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Vote for Stevie Johnson:

    http://www.topvalueperformer.com/



  2. Paducah fan
    1:16 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Ah, Milt Wagner, who, while playing for U of L, said he didn’t know much about future opponent Drexel, but that he thought it “was one of those academic schools”.



  3. Chris Thomas
    1:18 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Don’t forget, after Cal left Memphis for UK, he tried as hard as he possibly could to get Barbee the head coaching job at Memphis.

    Apparently, angry at Cal, they refused and made the great hire of Pastner, stealing him from having a spot on Cal’s staff at UK :/



  4. Kidnut
    1:24 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    I wish I was there so I could yell “Barbee!” over and over.



  5. randy hardwick
    1:28 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    -2-yes. that was classic. kyuk,kyuk,kyuk



  6. Nathaniel Root
    1:46 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    I got my video taping skills from recording women naked without their knowledge.



  7. Cats100222000
    1:47 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Auburn needs to shell out some $$$$ for blue chip recruits…..Their football programs doing okay



  8. Cats100222000
    1:50 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    And by the way…Les Miles staying put at LSU….ESPN needs to check their “sources” Their sources stated Les Miles, if offered the job, would definetly take it….I can’t count how many times ESPN “sources” have been wrong in the past few weeks



  9. Seneca
    1:51 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    At this point i am not sure Cal wants to take credit for anyone on Auburn’s BBall staff. heh



  10. Trying to Remember
    1:55 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Wasn’t Milt Wagner also famous for playing several games wearing ‘gloves?’ I seem to remember one game U of Smell had on TV and Wagner was having a good game and the announcers kept saying, “how does he do that with gloves on?!” Or am I thinking of someone else……..



  11. JackNicklaus
    1:59 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    BCS game…2 teams that play fast, aggressive, exciting, hit hard and play to win. UK does none of these. Heck, I even liked the Ducks’ uniforms. We simply have nothing that says to any recruit….hey, I want to play there.
    There is not a single UK fan I know that is excited about the football program now. None of them. I am the biggest optimist there is, always feeling this year we will break through and have that great year. No more. I have the same feeling I had the Curry year, the last few Tubby years and the years w/ Clyde. You simply have to have something, anything that gets fans/players/recruits excited…I see nothing and neither do all my UK friends.

    Ok…lets beat the crap outta Auburn tonight!



  12. Han
    2:04 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    9) Yeah, I was going to point that out.

    Auburn, the team some round these parts have called the worst in the “BCS”, is run entirely by disciples of Cal…not the best distinction.

    (In related news, Memphis coach Pastner recruited well to begin his career but can’t coach top talent and head cases as well as Cal. Could it be another example of the system making the player/coach look better than they are once they leave it?)



  13. School Bus Jones
    2:10 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    B



  14. Kevin Probus
    2:14 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    Auburn needs to fire Barbee and bring in a big name coach.



  15. MillerMan
    2:37 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    That part about Barbee sitting in at practice was a joke right?



  16. laughter
    2:54 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    fire joker now. save money and fan heartache in the long run.



  17. Paducah fan
    4:45 pm January 11, 2011 Permalink

    I remember being at the game when Barkley made his first trip to Lex. The crowd got on him for his weight, but it seems like he got about a thousand rebounds and a similar number of points. I don’t think Turpin wanted any more of him. He razzed the crowd all night. Cousins had nothing on Barkley. He invented teasing the crowd.



  18. saratoga2323
    12:04 pm January 12, 2011 Permalink

    I played for John Robic at Youngstown State he was by far the worst coach i have ever played for he would kill us in practice, degrade us his ass should have been fired and we all should have pressed charges.