CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Kentucky is getting a package deal. Illinois assistant basketball coaches Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman are both officially heading to Lexington, the school announced on Thursday. Speculation and reports have been aplenty the past few weeks, before the move was finally released.
Antigua and Coleman have been in Champaign since 2017, hired by head coach Brad Underwood on his first Illini staff. Chin was instrumental in landing Ayo Dosunmu and Adam Miller, with Antigua the lead recruiter for Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo, among several others.
“Orlando and Chin have been instrumental in the building of this program from day one, and they deserve a lot of credit for the success that we’ve experienced,” Underwood said in a statement. “They are dear friends who I’ll miss working alongside each day, and I am grateful for the impact they’ve had on my life, which is bigger than basketball. All the best to Coach O and Coach Chin from the Fighting Illini.”
Orlando returns to UK for his second stint with the Wildcats after a run from 2009-14, helping them win a national title, three Final Four appearances and a national runner-up. All together it added up to a 152-37 record.
“I want to thank Josh Whitman, Coach (Brad) Underwood and everyone at Illinois for an incredible four years in Champaign,” Antigua said in a statement. “We created some unforgettable memories and took the program to new heights that we can all be proud of. I will never forget my time at Illinois and I want to thank everyone who welcomed my family and I to a wonderful place. With that said, I am excited to be headed back to Lexington. This game has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities, but the chance to work at Kentucky again, a program where we built a lot of special memories, is one I am grateful for.”
For Coleman, this is his big breakthrough after four seasons at Illinois.
“We must accept the end of something in order to begin something new, special and different,” Coleman said in a statement.” To that end, I want to thank everyone at Illinois for the opportunity I was afforded the last four years. It was truly an honor, and I am proud of the success we achieved together. It takes courage to grow and become who you really are, and having the opportunity to coach at the University of Kentucky, work for John Calipari and be a member of Big Blue Nation is a dream come true. This is a different kind of place, one that coaches and players hope to one day be a part of. I am blessed to live that dream.”
“I am really excited to have Orlando back,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement. “I think everyone knows what we were able to do with Orlando as a part of our staff going to the Sweet Sixteen in our final season at Memphis and making three Final Fours with a national title at Kentucky in his five seasons. But aside from our team success, he brings an uplifting spirit and a work ethic that helps create relationships that are so needed in college basketball within your own team and on the recruiting trail. All of that starts within our staff, and I am excited that he wanted to be back here with us to get our program back to where we know it needs to be.”
“Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman is in the same mold as Orlando,” Calipari said. “You are talking about another upbeat, positive coach who is going to bring the spirit that has always been a part of our culture. He has earned his stripes through hard work and building relationships around the country. Chin is a grinder, someone who relishes that time in the gym with the kids to help add value to your current players, yet he never takes his eyes off the lifeline of our program, which is recruiting. I cannot wait to get both of these guys in the office and on the court.”