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 ESPN.com 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.