After a sad end to a wonderful college basketball season, it is time for the coaching carousel to being. Now that Kentucky has squashed any John Calipari rumors that may be out there, we turn our attention to the rest of the coaching staff. While Kenny Payne’s name comes up often and will likely continue to do so, the newest name on the head coaching candidate list is Tony Barbee.
Barbee has been an assistant at Kentucky since 2014, but for the four years before that he was the head coach of the Auburn Tigers. He also spent four years as the head coach at UTEP. According to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, he may be in line for another head coaching position.
Three of the names involved at Georgia State, sources told ESPN: Kentucky assistant Tony Barbee, Boston Celtics assistant Micah Shrewsberry and NC Central head coach LeVelle Moton.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 2, 2019
The Georgia State Panthers are looking for a coach after Ron Hunter has accepted a coaching position at Tulane. You may remember that Hunter coached Georgia State in an NCAA Tournament win over the Baylor Bears in 2015 from a stool from the sideline. His son, RJ Hunter, hit the game winner and the coach fell off of the stool.
Hunter has been the head coach at Georgia State for the last seven years, and has taken them to two three NCAA Tournaments during that time, including the last two years. They lost in the first round against the Houston Cougars this year, 84-55.
While Kentucky has always stepped up and found ways to retain Kenny Payne when his name has come up in searches, do not look for the same to happen with Coach Barbee. While he has added value to the program, he replaced Orlando Antigua and that’s when there was an immediate, noticeable dip in recruiting. His X’s and O’s contributions have certainly made an impact, but do not be surprised if Calipari happily trades that for a proven recruiter.
If Barbee does take the job, expect more attention to be paid to the search for his replacement than for many head coaching jobs. Some big names are sure to be thrown out there, but that speculation is for another time. We wish Coach Barbee the best of luck whether he stays at Kentucky or gets another opportunity as a head coach.