After being rumored as a strong candidate to take the head coaching position at Georgia State, we now know that Tony Barbee will be staying in Lexington for the time being, as the Panthers have hired Tennessee Volunteers assistant Rob Lanier
Details are not clear about how strong the mutual interest was between Georgia State and Barbee, but with Lanier being named head coach there, it seems like it was not the best match.
Barbee has served as a head coach at two other institutions before coming to Kentucky. He coached UTEP from 2006 to 2010, leaving there to coach the Auburn Tigers for four years. While his time at Auburn did not end well, with Barbee being fired after four losing seasons, he saw great success at UTEP.
He took over a UTEP Miners team in 2006, winning just 14 games in his first season. By the time he left the program, however, they had a record of 26-7, won Conference USA, and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
It seemed like Georgia State would have been a good fit for Barbee, playing in a mid-major conference and being a program on the rise. They have made the NCAA Tournament two seasons in a row, and could potentially become a perennial power in the Sun Belt Conference.
Barbee could still get another head coaching gig at some point. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit. In the meantime, he is a strong assistant that I am sure is welcome in Lexington for as long as he wants to be there.