(via USF Communications) - University of South Florida Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced today the hiring of nationally honored University of Kentucky assistant coach and Dominican National Team head coach Orlando Antigua to lead the USF men’s basketball program. Antigua, who helped lead the Wildcats to their third Final Four appearance in the last four years on Sunday, becomes the ninth head coach in USF men’s basketball program history.
“I said from the beginning of this search, we were looking for a great leader, a great communicator, a proven record of being able to recruit and develop players, and someone who will represent USF with exceptional energy and integrity,” Harlan said. “We have found all of that and more in Orlando Antigua. He has tremendous passion and a unique and exciting background that includes being a key participant in one of the most successful recent runs in the college game. His work as the head coach of the Dominican National Team is also extremely impressive. Orlando’s incredible personal story is a powerful testament to his drive and determination that will serve our program well.”
The school will hold a formal press conference to introduce Antiqua on Tuesday in the Sun Dome Arena Club. Details on the press conference, which will be streamed live on GoUSFBulls.com, will be forthcoming.
“I would like to thank President Genshaft and Mark Harlan for this tremendous opportunity,” Antigua said. “I have been preparing for the challenge of leading a program my entire life and I have a deep belief and passion that USF basketball can thrive and is ideally positioned in a community as rich and diverse as the TampaBay area. I look forward to renewing my strong connections in the state of Florida and can’t wait to begin working towards our future success.”
Antigua has worked as an assistant coach under John Calipari for the last six seasons, spending one season with Calipari at Memphis (2008-09) and the last five at Kentucky (2009-14). He also worked for five seasons under Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon (2003-08) and has been a part of teams that have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the Sweet Sixteen seven times.
Named the top assistant coach in the nation under 40 by ESPN.com in 2012, Antigua is widely recognized as one of the premier recruiters in the nation. He has been instrumental in assembling five-straight No. 1 ranked recruiting classes at Kentucky. The 2014 class currently stands at No. 2. Kentucky’s 2013-14 team became the first to reach a Final Four with an all-freshmen starting lineup since Michigan in 1992.
In his first season as a Kentucky assistant, Antigua helped the Wildcats assemble a No. 1 ranked recruiting class that saw three of those recruits drafted in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He was subsequently named to Yahoo! Sports list of the top 10 college basketball recruiters. The Wildcats had a record six players selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, including the first two picks in Anthony Davis (No. 1) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2). Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation while featuring a record six McDonald’s All-Americans and is considered one of the top classes ever assembled.
During his five seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats made three NCAA Final Four appearances (2011, 2012 & 2014), reached four NCAA Elite Eights and won the 2012 NCAA National Championship. Kentucky won two SEC regular season (2010 & 2012) and two SEC Tournament titles (2010 & 2011) and compiled a 151-36 (.807) record while reaching the post-season every year.
In his one season at Memphis, Antigua helped the Tigers to a post a 33-4 record and reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen after winning Conference USA regular season and tournament titles.
Prior to joining Calipari at Memphis, Antigua spent five seasons on Jamie Dixon’s staff at his alma mater, Pittsburgh. He served as Director of Basketball Operations from 2003-05 and as an assistant coach from 2006-08. He helped lead the Panthers to a 132-40 (.767) record, with a mark of 55-27 (.670) in Big East play. Pitt recorded five straight 20-win seasons, winning 10 or more league games each year, and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and 2007.
A four-year lettermen and two-time team captain as a player at Pittsburgh (1991-95), Antigua ranks in the top 15 on the Panthers’ career charts in three-pointers made (117 treys), blocked shots (78) and career three-point percentage (38.6). A 1992 Big East Conference All-Rookie Team selection, Antigua helped lead the Panthers to an 18-16 record and an NIT berth as a freshman under coach Paul Evans. The following year, the Panthers went 17-11 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid.
In 1994, Antigua was named the United States Basketball Writers' Association Most Courageous Athlete, an honor presented annually to the college basketball player who displays courage on and off the court. Antigua graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in December 1995.
After graduation, Antigua was selected to play for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters, becoming the first player of Latin American descent to play for the squad. Nicknamed "Hurricane" for his dazzling moves, the 6-7 Antigua played with the Globetrotters for seven years until 2002. He represented the squad in 49 different countries, meeting luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman and Regis and Kathy Lee.
Antigua also played in the Puerto Rico Superior Basketball League for eight seasons and was twice a member of the Dominican Republic National Team (1994-95 and 1997-98). Because of his dedication to the community, Antigua was named one of the nation’s top 100 most influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business magazine.
Born in the Dominican Republic but raised in The Bronx borough of New York City, Antigua attended St. Raymond's High School where he played a major role in the team's New York Catholic League championship run. As a senior, he earned McDonald's All-America and Parade magazine All-America second-team honors and was also named All-New York City.
Fluent in Spanish, Antigua and his wife, Dana, have a daughter, Olivia, and Antigua has son, Orlando Anthony, who is currently serving in the Marine Corps and is based in North Carolina.