“Tony has been a part of my basketball family for over 20 years,” Calipari said of Barbee, who worked as an assistant under him for nine years at UMass and Memphis. “I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow up and mature with this game since I started recruiting him when he was 16 years old. I’m thrilled with the knowledge and experience he brings to this program and our staff and am looking forward to working with him again.”
"I’m so excited to reconnect with my coach, mentor, and friend Coach Cal on his staff at Kentucky,” Barbee said. “I can't wait to join the Big Blue Nation in its quest for (championship) No. 9."
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 2000-06. The Tigers posted 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.
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 best 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.
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.
The Indianapolis native played professionally in Spain and France after his playing career at UMass. He earned his B.A. 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.