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Kenny Payne, Tony Barbee, Joel Justus awarded contract extensions

Kenny Payne is one of Kentucky Basketball’s biggest assets, and today, the program rewarded him with a three-year contract extension. As first reported by the Courier-Journal, Payne just signed a three-year deal that will pay him $900,000 per year through June 2021. Tony Barbee and Joel Justus also signed new one-year deals, Barbee’s for $440,000 and Justus’ for $230,000.

Payne was set to make $800,000 this season, making this a pretty impressive raise. Not only is he the highest paid assistant in the game, he makes more than many head coaches. Add in the fact that he can now coach his son, Zan, and that’s a lot of incentive to stick around until the right head coaching job comes along.

“Worrying about that does me no good,” Payne said last month of when he’ll become a head coach. “I have a great job. I love what I do. I’m around some special kids every year — not just this year, every year. I get to identify character kids and go from there with it.”

Congrats to all three coaches on the new deals. Well deserved.

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Kenny Payne, Tony Barbee, Joel Justus awarded contract extensions



  1. ClutchCargo
    4:03 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    Some people are just best suited to being high level assistant coaches, and there is nothing wrong with that. I feel like Kenny Payne is one of those people. He probably has the perfect job for himself right where he is, and can focus on working with the players and recruiting.



  2. J. Did
    4:12 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    Love Kenny Payne. He’s in a good spot now. In time, he may move on; but for now, I’m going to continue to enjoy having him at KENTUCKY with CAL. He’s awesome for the kids and the program.



  3. BTownUKFan
    4:42 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    …..”I get to identify character kids and go from there with it.” That’s the part of Kenny’s contribution that cannot be understated. The kids Cal is bringing in have all been good citizens (with one or two exceptions) as proven by their attitude at Kentucky and their generosity after the leave Kentucky. It’s nice to know Cal and his assistants put stock in character.



  4. runningunnin.454
    4:50 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    KP most valuable assistant coach in the country.



  5. bobcatukbb
    4:52 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    Worth EVERY penny! Love our staff. Work well together and especially pray that Kenny Payne will stay as long as Coach Cal (yeah, selfish I know), but he’s SO VALUABLE to us. Will totally understand if he leaves for a great offer and will wish him the best, but selfishly hope he sticks with us till Coach Cal “hangs it up.”



  6. Bluebloodtoo
    5:10 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    When you play your assistants that well, you don’t have to worry much about them finding better opportunities. Especially if they look at ROI. Hard to beat being paid as a mid level head coach with half the responsibilities.



  7. clint w.
    5:21 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    Hello fellow commenters. I want to take a quick poll. Would you be for or against KP being our next head coach?



    • ClutchCargo
      6:01 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

      Against, without significant HC experience. A great assistant doesn’t always translate into being a great HC.



    • runningunnin.454
      6:16 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

      I vote yes. Billy G had prior HC experience; and so did Eddie Sutton…both were disasters. On the other hand, Joe B. had very little HC experience, and Rupp had only coached on the high school level.



    • unbridled
      11:11 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

      I vote no. I love coach Payne and what he brings to the program….but I want billy Donovan when coach cal unfortunately decides to move on.



    • Perry1987
      1:21 am September 7, 2018 Permalink

      So you guys think KP would get the head coaching job over John Robic? Hard to imagine but I personally believe it’s Robics to lose if Cal were to hang it up.



  8. Not Dan Issel
    6:13 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    I have no problem with KP succeeding Cal as our next head coach. He knows the system and he knows how to recruit. As I recall, a previous assistant with no head coaching experience did a pretty good job at UK (Joe B. Hall). If it doesn’t go well, then we look for a new coach.



  9. lribookend
    6:25 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    I think UK would HAVE to consider him. If they brought in someone else as HC, (and let’s face it, no highly experienced/lhighly successful HC is going to give up their easier gig for the pressure of being at UK), then KP likely leaves for a HC position somewhere else. I think there are probably countless universities that would LOVE for KP to their head coach TODAY. I think working under Cal for all these years is worth just as much valuable experience as many lesser HC jobs. What great current HC do you think would consider the UK, Kentucky is not for everybody (apologies to Coach Cal).



  10. Papaw
    6:36 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    KP is being groomed for the HC job when Cal hangs it up and I’m all for it. As good as Cal is I’d hate to imagine KP not here with Cal



  11. BBaxterUK
    7:51 pm September 6, 2018 Permalink

    Well deserved!!