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Media praises Kentucky’s “home run hire” of Bruiser Flint

“Bruiser is an elite defensive coach.” “He’s got the best people skills of anybody, anywhere in college basketball.” “He was tough as sh*t.”

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Bruiser Flint

On Tuesday, the Kentucky Wildcats’ long-time assistant coach Kenny Payne decided to accept a job offer to become an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.

Shortly after the announcement, it was reported that Bruiser Flint who was an assistant under John Calipari at UMASS, would be leaving Indiana to join the staff at Kentucky and replace Payne.

Flint took over for coach Cal as the head coach at UMASS when Cal left and later went on to be the head coach at Drexel. He spent 20 years as a D1 head coach winning 331 games and he has over 30 years of coaching experience.

After helping coach Cal lead the UMASS program to its only Final Four appearance in history in 1996, Flint then went 86-72 in five years as the head coach and had a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.

As the head coach at Drexel, Flint spent 15 years and became the programs’ all-time leader in wins with 245.

Cal could’ve almost hand-picked who he wanted to replace Payne and decided to go with someone who has experience. Not only can Cal trust Flint, but since he was an assistant under Cal for seven seasons, he knows how Cal wants to run his program.

Andy Katz of NCAA March Madness took to Twitter to comment on the hire and called it a “home run hire.”

“Bruiser Flint loved coaching in the Big Ten. He will miss it. He fell for the league. And was a huge asset for Indiana men’s basketball and Archie Miller. But reuniting with John Calipari makes too much sense,” Katz tweeted. “Home run hire for Cal to replace Kenny Payne on his staff. The 90’s are back!”

Phil Martelli replied to Katz’s tweet talking about the battles Cal and Flint had with John Chaney back in the day.

“Bruiser with John Calipari will bring [former Temple head coach] John Chaney out of retirement!!! Those battles in the Atlantic-10 made for must see TV!!” Martelli tweeted. “A true testimony to friendship!!”

But Katz isn’t the only member of the media to prasie Kentucky’s hiring of Flint.

In an interview with Cats Illustrated, Stadium reporter Jon Rothstein said Flint should help improve the Wildcats’ defense, which is already among the top units in college basketball on a yearly basis under Calipari.

And like Calipari, Flint has tremendous people skills that will translate to success on the recruiting trail.

“Bruiser is an elite defensive coach,” Rothstein said. “John Calipari’s always been an elite defensive coach and I think Tony Barbee has also had a major hand in helping Kentucky’s defense over the last couple of years. I would expect with all of those guys together Kentucky’s going to have all hands on deck in terms of coaching defensive basketball.”

“He’s got the best people skills of anybody, anywhere in college basketball,” Rothstein added.

In an interview with The Athletic, former Hofstra coach Tom Pecora praised the toughness and physically of Flint’s teams when he was Drexel’s head coach.

“He was tough as sh*t. His teams took on his personality,” said Pecora. “They never let you get to screens, much less use them. You had to match their physicality and their intensity. They tried to impose their will on you right out of the gate, so you had to match that toughness. Otherwise, they would just take your heart.”

While it’s tough to lose a coach as good as Payne, it certainly sounds like Flint is one of the best hires Kentucky could have made to replace the impact Payne had on the program.

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