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John Calipari and Bruiser Flint comment on addition to UK coaching staff

“Bruiser has an incredible basketball mind and is going to help us in a lot of ways.”

James Bruiser Flint

Kentucky has officially added James ‘Bruiser’ Flint to the men’s basketball coaching staff, the school announced Monday. He comes to Lexington following a three-year stint with the Indiana Hoosiers as an assistant coach.

As expected, Flint will fill an opening created earlier this month when Kenny Payne accepted an offer to join the New York Knicks as an assistant coach.

“Bruiser and I go back to our days at UMass,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “Bru is not only a terrific coach, he’s like my brother. You’re not going to find anyone that says a bad word about him. He forms great relationships with players because he listens, has a terrific personality and can relate to anyone. Bruiser has an incredible basketball mind and is going to help us in a lot of ways. He was a terrific player, too.

Flint comes to Kentucky with a wealth of coaching experience, as he spent 20 years as a Division I head coach at Drexel (2001-02 to 2015-16) and UMass (1996-97 to 2000-01). Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at UMass under Calipari. Flint replaced Calipari as the head man at UMass after the latter left for the NBA to coach the New Jersey Nets.

As a head coach, Flint won 331 games at UMass and Drexel. Four times he was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year (2002, 2004, 2009 and 2012) and National Association of Basketball Coaches District Coach of the Year (1998, 2007, 2009 and 2012).

“First of all, I want to thank Indiana and Coach Archie Miller for letting me be a part of your family for the last three years,” Flint said. “Hoosier Nation treated my family and I with incredible kindness. Bloomington is a special place and I am forever grateful to everyone at IU.

“I am so excited to get started in Lexington. Kentucky, as Coach Cal likes to say, is the gold standard in college basketball. Going back to our time at UMass, Coach Cal has been both a brother and a mentor to me for 30 years. I have always had great respect for his approach and his care for his players. He and I both believe that when you put players first — when you make their dreams your dreams — we can accomplish special things.

“I’m looking forward to getting in the gym with some special young men and representing Big Blue Nation.”

As an assistant at UMass from 1989-96, Flint helped the Minutemen make five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1996 Final Four run, to go along with five Atlantic 10 regular-season and five A-10 Tournament titles. He also helped develop Marcus Camby into a Nation Player of the Year award winner and No. 2 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

As an assistant at Indiana, Flint was part of a staff that produced the No. 11 recruiting class nationally in 2018 and 2020 (according to ESPN’s rankings), including Indiana Mr. Basketball winners Romeo Langford (2018) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (2019).

Flint has also had several coaching opportunities with USA Basketball, including as an assistant in 2007 for the USA U-19 National Team in Serbia, and as an assistant in 2005 for the USA U-21 World Championship Team in Argentina.