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BREAKING: Orlando Antigua, Chin Coleman are headed to Kentucky

Photo: Michael Allio, Getty Images

Photo: Michael Allio, Getty Images

John Calipari is shaking up his coaching staff in a major way, bringing back former assistant coach Orlando Antigua, along with another brand new addition to the program in Illinois assistant Ronald “Chin” Coleman.

Following the departures of UK staff members Tony Barbee and Joel Justus – the former took the head coaching job at Central Michigan, while the latter joined Bobby Hurley’s staff at Arizona State – Antigua and Coleman will join the staff alongside Jai Lucas and Bruiser Flint.

Antigua, 48, spent the last four years as an assistant coach on Brad Underwood’s staff at Illinois, helping lead the program to a 45-17 record over the past two seasons after a 26-39 start from 2017-19. The Fighting Illini had their best season in 16 years in 2020-21, finishing with a final record of 24-7, a Big Ten Tournament Championship, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to his time at Illinois, Antigua was the head coach at South Florida for two and a half seasons from 2014-17 before he was dismissed on January 3, 2017. He also coached the Dominican Republic men’s national team from 2013-15, where he helped lead the country to its first FIBA World Cup bracket appearance in history.

The veteran coach’s biggest success came at Kentucky, where he spent five years on Calipari’s staff from 2009-14. There, he was named the top assistant coach in the country under 40 by in 2012, helping assemble five straight No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in Lexington. UK compiled a 152-37 overall record during his tenure, highlighted by three Final Four appearances and the program’s eighth national title in 2012.

More specifically, Antigua is credited as the lead recruiter for the likes of Nerlens Noel, Karl-Anthony Towns, Terrence Jones and Trey Lyles, among others, during his time at UK. It was a dominant recruiting run that led to Yahoo! Sports listing him as a top-10 recruiter in college basketball in 2010 and ESPN naming him one of the top-five feared assistants on the recruiting trail in 2013.

As for Coleman, who just finished his fourth season as an assistant coach after joining the Illinois staff in April 2017, he joins Calipari’s staff as a well-respected veteran coaching talent with deep ties to grassroots basketball and the city of Chicago.

In his time working with guards at Illinois, he was instrumental in the development of the likes of 2021 National Player of the Year and projected first-round draft selection Ayo Dosunmu, along with recruiting four-star prospects Adam Miller and Tevian Jones to Champaign.

“We’re excited to have Coach Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman on board. He is a terrific young coach who has worked hard to earn his way up the ranks,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said of Coleman. “He has tremendous knowledge of the state of Illinois and city of Chicago, growing up and playing there, and then cutting his coaching teeth at the high school and grassroots level with the Mac Irvin Fire. He is a student of the game, a great teacher, and an outstanding asset for the University of Illinois basketball program and our players.”

Coleman also spent two years as an assistant at UIC under then-coach Steve McClain, three years as an assistant at Bradley under then coach Geno Ford, one year at Nebraska as a director of player development and one year as an assistant for Tim Miles at Colorado State. Before joining the collegiate ranks, Coleman coached the Mac Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit from 2005-11. He also coached at the prep level in Chicago, leading Benjamin Mays Academy before becoming the associate head coach at Whitney Young.

Calipari’s staff is now complete, and it couldn’t come at a better time. UK needs some recruiting momentum, and the additions of Antigua and Coleman will certainly help make that happen.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

22 Comments for BREAKING: Orlando Antigua, Chin Coleman are headed to Kentucky

  1. EastKY-BlueBlood
    10:43 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Yes sirrrrr!!

  2. EastKY-BlueBlood
    10:45 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Chin also very connected to Ty Ty & his H.S. Coach.. Was lead on him, was top 2 with Creighton.. He is very close with his Coach, who is from Chicago.. Good vibes!

  3. Go_Wildcats_Go
    10:45 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Great to hear it is finally official!

  4. FinnaGoHAM
    10:48 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    All the trolls are running out of things to b1tch about… except for maybe Chin’s tie in that pic.

    • T-Town Cat
      12:31 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

      Good point. I don’t want to meet his tailor.

  5. ClutchCargo
    10:49 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Is there a press release or at least quotes from somebody at UK?

    • UKBigBlueForever
      11:02 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

      Twitter has something from Kentucky sports

  6. Urincatland
    10:50 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Hell yes!

  7. csnailnrun
    10:51 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Does anyone reasonably expect any change or addition with recruiter cal at the reigns for Kentucky Basketball to start winning championships again…?

    • mashman 93
      11:00 am May 6, 2021 Permalink


    • ClutchCargo
      11:15 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

      I forget, who was the coach the last time UK won a NCAA title?

    • njcat
      10:22 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

      It’s been so long I can’t remember. Have to watch the NBA to watch KY players develop into studs.

    • 4everUKBlue
      1:23 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

      You just had to go and bring truth into the conversation didn’t you CC?

  8. mashman 93
    10:54 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Great news!!!! Now let’s add a couple of more pieces to the 2021-2022 roster. GO CATS!!!!

  9. millertim
    10:55 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    More importantly, are they bringing any transfers/ recruits?

    11:56 am May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Let’s get it! Time to get back on top of the recruiting rankings and better player development. Starting with Tyty and a last confirmation convo with Jaden Hardy

  11. VirginiaCat
    1:09 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

    At least three reasons to be optimistic: We are getting Antigua back, who has a track record of success at Kentucky and someone who has Cal’s confidence. Kentucky will also be gaining experience through the transfer portal, something that has been sorely lacking. Last, and most important, Cal apparently recognizes that change is necessary if the program is to recover from last year and other lackluster seasons.

  12. BigDaddyTR
    4:25 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Great news. Hopefully Coach Coleman is making enough money that he can afford a new tie.

  13. secrick
    4:49 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

    Good news . We will never lose again, well maybe a couple times. Lets have fun GO CATS.

  14. JDid
    6:39 pm May 6, 2021 Permalink

    GO CATS!