The Kentucky Wildcats are shaking up the basketball staff, which features Joel Justus and John Robic changing roles.
Justus will move to one of the three assistant coaching positions for the 2016-17 season, head coach John Calipari announced on Friday.
Robic will now move into the special assistant to the head coach role. Justus began to replace Robic temporarily back in April when his father passed away. After seeing how well Justus did in that role, Calipari made the call to elevate Justus to one of the three assistant coaches on UK’s staff.
“I feel I have the best staff of people who surround me in the country,” Calipari said in a press release. “All are strong in areas that I’m weak. All of them understand that the relationships with our current players and working with them every single day to help them get better is the key to their success and this program.
“No one should look at this in any other way than me trying to shuffle our staff to put them in the best positions to succeed personally and for them to help our program remain the gold standard.”
Justus joined the staff for the historic 2014-15 season as the director of analytics. He was elevated to special assistant to the head coach for the 2015-16 season.
Among Justus’ duties were analyzing player and team performance, utilizing various stats and data to help develop efficient strategies through video. He developed tools that streamlined the decision-making process of the coaching staff using advanced statistical modeling and analysis.
“Kenny (Payne), Tony (Barbee) and I will continue to work on putting the best incoming classes that we can together with young people who want Kentucky as bad as we want them and who understand that the program isn’t for everyone,” Calipari said. “By putting Joel where he is and having him focus on who we need to hone in on, we’ll be more prepared than we’ve ever been, which is scary.”
As for Robic, he has has served as an assistant to Calipari at three different schools since the late 1980s, but he is now taking a step back to allow Justus to take over the rigors of being an assistant coach in college basketball.
Robic is in his eighth season with UK, but is a long-time associate of Calipari. Beginning with their first season together at UMass in 1988-89, where Robic was an assistant under Calipari, the two are entering their 20th season together.
“Robes will continue to focus on his strength of making us the most well-prepared team in the country and putting our kids in positions to succeed,” Calipari said. “I’m excited to see how the new structure of our staff improves our ability to help kids reach their dreams.”
In Robic’s new role, he will continue to scout future opponents, help with game-planning, break down film with Calipari, and carry out special projects and assignments from the head coach.
However, NCAA rules prevent Robic from being able to work with/instruct players on the court going forward.