Barbee was entering his eighth season at Kentucky.
It sure is difficult to keep anything a secret these days. It came as little surprise today to learn that Tony Barbee will become the next head coach at Central Michigan, according to Yahoo sports reporter Pete Thamel.
Jeff Goodman was the first to report that Barbee was the frontrunner for the vacant spot on Wednesday, and he has also confirmed Barbee is the Chippewas’ next head coach.
It’s also no secret that John Calipari clearly has some immediate plans to revamp his coaching staff, so it’s good to see he’ll get to do so while former assistants land on their feet elsewhere.
After years of being linked to many mid-major head-coaching jobs around the country, Barbee finally pulls the trigger and departs from Lexington after seven seasons.
Before you start to speculate on what exactly Barbee’s departure will mean for UK, take a moment to appreciate his contributions.
The pain of a 9-16 season still burns deep, but his total body of work demonstrates a job well done and enough to earn him another Division-I head coaching job.
It was rumored that Barbee was headed to Fordham, but instead the Ram’s hired Ryan Neptune from Villanova. After previously leading UTEP and Auburn, he’ll now get another opportunity to take the helm of his own program.
If you watched the most recent season of the popular Netflix show Last Chance U, then you may be intrigued to know that Barbee will be coaching one of the key players featured in the documentary. Malik Muhammad transferred to Central Michigan after spending time at East Los Angeles Community College.
The Chippewas have only made the tournament four times in their existence, most recently in 2003. But now the allure of new coach coming from a program like Kentucky should have things picking up on the recruiting trail.
It stinks that Barbee’s last season on the bench had to be such a colossal dud. But it’d be unfair to solely remember him for that. The Big Blue Nation will is sure to wish him well and the Chippewas just gained a storm of supporters.