It’s finally official: Bruiser Flint is an assistant coach on Kentucky’s staff. UK announced the news this morning in a press release featuring quotes from Flint and John Calipari, longtime friends.
“Bruiser and I go back to our days at UMass,” Calipari said. “Bru is not only a terrific coach, he’s like my brother. You’re not going to find anyone that says a bad word about him. He forms great relationships with players because he listens, has a terrific personality and can relate to anyone. Bruiser has an incredible basketball mind and is going to help us in a lot of ways. He was a terrific player, too.
“Bruiser is one of those guys who has always done more than people thought possible, both as a player and a coach. I can’t wait to get started and get back at it with Bru as a part of our team.”
Flint has more than 30 years of coaching experience, including 20 seasons as a Division I head coach at Drexel (2001-02 to 2015-16) and UMass (1996-97 to 2000-01), plus several prominent assistant coaching stops, including seven seasons at UMass under Calipari. He most recently served on Archie Miller’s staff at Indiana and will fill the opening created earlier this month when Kenny Payne accepted a position with the New York Knicks.
“First of all, I want to thank Indiana and Coach Archie Miller for letting me be a part of your family for the last three years,” Flint said. “Hoosier Nation treated my family and I with incredible kindness. Bloomington is a special place and I am forever grateful to everyone at IU.
“I am so excited to get started in Lexington. Kentucky, as Coach Cal likes to say, is the gold standard in college basketball. Going back to our time at UMass, Coach Cal has been both a brother and a mentor to me for 30 years. I have always had great respect for his approach and his care for his players. He and I both believe that when you put players first — when you make their dreams your dreams — we can accomplish special things.
“I’m looking forward to getting in the gym with some special young men and representing Big Blue Nation.”
Flint won 331 games as a head coach during his 20 seasons at UMass and Drexel. Four times he was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year (2002, 2004, 2009 and 2012) and National Association of Basketball Coaches District Coach of the Year (1998, 2007, 2009 and 2012). He was a member of Calipari’s staff at UMass from 1989 through the 1995-96 season, helping build a national program in Amherst, Massachusetts, after 11 straight losing seasons. With Calipari and Flint on staff, the Minutemen made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1996 Final Four run, to go along with five Atlantic 10 regular-season and five A-10 Tournament titles.
Flint played a key role in the development of Marcus Camby, who won the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy as the national player of the year in 1996. Camby was drafted No. 2 overall in the NBA Draft that spring. After Calipari departed for the NBA, Flint took over UMass for five seasons, including NCAA Tournament berths in the first two seasons. He posted the best record of any first-year UMass coach.
Welcome aboard, “Bru.”