Barbee, a former head coach at UTEP and Auburn and a collegiate player under Calipari at UMass, will fill the position vacated when Barry "Slice" Rohrssen accepted the associate head coach position at St. John's last month.
“I’m excited for Tony, who has been a part of my basketball family for more than 20 years,” Calipari said in a statement released by UK. “Tony has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in the country. The knowledge and experience he brought to our staff last season was invaluable. To have him be a part of our staff is a blessing for all of us.”
Last season, Barbee served as a special assistant to Calipari. He was charged with game-plan preparation, practice plans and administrative duties within basketball operations. He helped the Wildcats post one of the most successful seasons in college basketball history as UK went 38-1 and advanced to the Final Four.
“I really enjoyed my first season in Lexington and I’m looking forward to returning to the bench as a coach,” Barbee said. “I’m grateful to Coach Cal for giving me the opportunity to represent this prestigious program and university in this capacity.”
As a head coach at UTEP and Auburn, Barbee compiled a 131-127 record. His 2009-10 UTEP squad won the C-USA championship, and he earned conference coach of the year honors.
A native of Indianapolis, Barbee played professionally in Spain and France after his career with UMass. He earned a bachelor of arts in sports management with a minor in African-American studies from UMass in 1993. He and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and a son, Andrew Marsh.