Tony Barbee


Tony Barbee just completed his second season as an assistant coach in 2016-17 at Kentucky after serving the 2014-15 season as special assistant to the head coach at UK.

In all three seasons Barbee has been on staff, including his most recent two as an assistant coach, the Wildcats have swept the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships. On the road recruiting, he helped secure the No. 1 classes in 2016 and 2017, as designated by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.

During the 2014-15 season, Barbee served as the special assistant to head coach John Calipari, where he assisted Calipari in a multitude of roles, including game-plan preparation, practice plans and administrative duties within everyday basketball operations. With Barbee’s help the Wildcats enjoyed one of the most storied seasons in program history, becoming the first team in NCAA history to begin a season 38-0 while claiming the SEC regular-season and tournament crowns, advancing to the program’s fourth Final Four in five seasons, and helping six players go in the NBA Draft.

Barbee File

1989-93: UMass, player
1995-96: UMass, graduate assistant
 UMass, assistant coach
1998-99: Wyoming, assistant coach
1999-00: UMass, assistant coach
2000-06: Memphis, assistant coach
2006-10: UTEP, head coach
2010-14: Auburn, head coach
2015: Kentucky, special assistant to head coach
2016-present: Kentucky, assistant coach

In his two seasons as an assistant coach, UK has gone to the NCAA Tournament and sent a combined six players to the NBA Draft.

Barbee was previously the head coach at UTEP and at Auburn and has served as an assistant coach under Calipari for a total of eight seasons in his career.

Barbee played for Calipari at UMass before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the Massachusetts staff in 1995-96. The Minutemen advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Barbee’s first season as a member of the coaching staff.

He served as an assistant coach for two seasons at UMass before taking an assistant coaching position at Wyoming. Barbee rejoined Calipari as an assistant at Memphis for six seasons from 2001-06.

The Tigers earned a 20-win season in each of his six years on staff. The Tigers claimed a pair of Conference USA titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times during his tenure, including an Elite Eight run in his final season. During Barbee’s tenure at Memphis, the Tigers won 148 games, an average of nearly 25 victories per season.

Memphis produced top-10 recruiting classes in each of Barbee’s six years, including the 2001 class that was ranked No. 1 in the country.

Barbee was hired as UTEP’s head coach in 2006. During his four-year tenure at the helm of the Miners program, he averaged 20.5 wins per seasons and exceeded his win total from year to year. His most prolific season at UTEP was his last in which he led the Miners to a 26-7 overall record, a C-USA regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10.

Tony Barbee has head coaching experience at UTEP and Auburn. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

Tony Barbee has head coaching experience at UTEP and Auburn. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

He became Auburn’s head coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. He spent four seasons as the head coach of the Tigers and has amassed an overall 131-127 record as a head coach.

Prior to Auburn, Barbee had advanced to postseason play in 18 of his 19 seasons as a head coach, assistant coach and player.

As a player, Barbee helped lead the Minutemen to a pair of Atlantic 10 championships and two NCAA Tournaments, including the Sweet 16 in 1992. UMass went 91-39 during his four-year career.

Barbee still ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories, including scoring with 1,643 points. He was a Second Team All-Atlantic 10 player in 1991 and 1993 and All-Atlantic 10 Freshman Team selection in 1990.

The Indianapolis native played professionally in Spain and France after his playing career at UMass. He earned his bachelor of arts in sports management from UMass in 1993, with a minor in African-American studies.

He and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and son, Andrew Marsh.