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Kentucky Basketball gives contract extensions to 3 assistant coaches

Kentucky gets Payne locked up for the foreseeable future.

Kenny Payne Jeremy Chisenhall - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats have signed their three primary assistant coaches to new contracts, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The big extension was for associate head coach Kenny Payne, who has consistently drawn interest as a head-coaching candidate each offseason. While he has yet to take another job, Kentucky will be paying him about what a small college would pay Payne as a head coach.

Payne has signed a new three-year deal that will pay him $900,000 per year through June of 2021. It makes sense for him to sign a deal that will keep him in Lexington for the foreseeable future, as he now gets a chance to coach his son, Zan Payne, who will be a walk-on this coming season who’s expected to redshirt. Kenny’s new deal will keep him under contract through what would be Zan’s redshirt sophomore season.

Fellow assistant coaches Tony Barbee and Joel Justus each agreed to new one-year deals after their previous contracts expired June 30. Barbee will be paid $440,000, while Justus will be paid $230,000 this season. Their contracts will now expire on June 30, 2019.

It’s a little odd to see both Justus and Barbee only got one-year extensions that will expire next summer, but regardless, all three coaches are now under contract for the upcoming season, which is shaping up to be a special one in Lexington.

Barbee has drawn some interest as a head-coaching candidate, partly due to his previous stints at UTEP and Auburn. There were rumors this offseason that Memphis was looking into hiring Barbee to be an assistant on Penny Hardaway’s staff, but that never materialized.

Justus has yet to draw any serious head-coaching interest, but he’s been a big asset for Kentucky on the recruiting trail.

Be sure to read the full report from the Courier-Journal.