It is only a matter of time before John Calipari announces the return of former UK assistant Orlando Antigua to Kentucky’s coaching staff, but who’s that other guy rumored to join him?
Rumor has it Antigua may not be alone in his move from the Urbana-Champaign area because fellow Illinois assistant Ron “Chin” Coleman has had conversations about taking an assistant coaching position along with Antigua under Calipari. Coleman is reportedly mulling over his options, but there have been loud whispers of his name in the shadows of the Joe Craft Center as a possible addition to the staff.
We will know soon enough if Coleman has a future in the Kentucky program or if he continues his career elsewhere; until that day (or at the rate things are moving, that hour), let’s get caught up on who exactly Ron “Chin” Coleman is and how he worked his way into conversations about UK assistant coaching hires.
We’ll start with the basics.
He is not a fan of Fran McCaffery and the Iowa coaching staff.
Little verbal confrontation between Fran McCaffery and Illinois assistant Ron “Chin” Coleman after the Iowa win. pic.twitter.com/YguUYJJeGO
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 2, 2020
Here lately, neither are we. Moving on…
He has been an Illinois assistant coach since 2017.
At Illinois, Coleman’s expertise and coaching responsibilities are mostly in the backcourt where consensus All-American point guard Ayo Dosunmu is one of Coleman’s best pupils.
A Chicago native, Coleman has also been enormous in reopening the pipeline to homegrown Chicago talent, namely Dosunmu and fellow Illinois guard Adam Miller, two high-profile recruits who chose to stay home because of Coleman. (Yes, the same Adam Miller who is transferring and considering Kentucky.)
Coleman also had Illinois in the mix for Kahlil Whitney, a five-star recruit you should remember for his months in Lexington.
Illinois head coach Brad Underwood called Coleman, “one of the most perfect hires I could have made.”
Underwood may not be as kind in describing Coleman if Coleman leaves for Kentucky, but around this time last year Underwood raved about his assistant. “He’s probably one of the most perfect hires I could have made,” Underwood said in an interview. “The glove has fit just perfect.”
He’s the best dressed coach on the bench, any bench.
The NCAA doesn’t have a Best Dressed Award, but if it did, Bob Huggins would not receive any votes and Chin Coleman may just be the winner. Coleman wears only the finest European fabrics and leathers, and everything is tailored and carefully planned out before it is worn. “God forbid you buy a shirt off the rack,” an old boss of his said.
Before Illinois, he was an AAU coach and journeyman assistant.
Coleman got his start in coaching on the youth level (as young as elementary school) in Chicago, and eventually became the head coach of the popular Chicago-based AAU program, the Mac Irvin Fire. When Coleman coached Mac Irvin from 2005-11, he coached familiar names like Jahlil Okafor and Jabari Parker, and we’ll ignore the fact they both went to Duke.
After so much success on the AAU level, Coleman accepted a job with Tim Miles at Colorado State in 2011, his first college coaching gig. When Miles left for Nebraska a year later, Coleman became his Director of Player Development for a brief stint before becoming an assistant at Bradley (2012-15) and UIC (2015-17).
“Chin” is a childhood nickname.
Coleman said he tried to drop the nickname to be more professional once he got his first college job at Colorado State, but 72 hours later he was Chin again. Tim Miles told him he loses all of his credibility when he goes by Ron or Ronald.
He played collegiately and then professionally for seven years.
Before he began teaching point guards, Coleman was one (a good one) at Lamar University. First he tried his hand at Weber State right out of high school, then transferred to Lamar for his remaining three years of eligibility. In those three years from 1994-97, Coleman led the team in scoring each season with 16.2 points per game over that span, earning him First Team All-Sun Belt honors three times.
After college, he bounced around the professional ranks overseas for seven years until returning to Chicago to find a new calling in coaching.
A lot of eyes are watching to see where that calling leads him next.