Kentucky hires assistant coach to replace Antigua

broberts@herald-leader.comMay 1, 2014 

Slippery Rock Pittsburgh Basketball

Pittsburgh assistant coach Barry Rohrssen during the NCAA exhibition college basketball game between Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

KEITH SRAKOCIC — ASSOCIATED PRESS

The University of Kentucky announced Thursday that Barry "Slice" Rohrssen has been hired as an assistant coach on John Calipari's staff.

It's been known for weeks that Rohrssen would be named the replacement for Orlando Antigua, who left UK last month for the head coaching job at South Florida. Rohrssen started recruiting with Calipari at AAU events in California and Texas over the weekend.

"It's an honor to be part of a program that has the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball," Rohrssen said in a statement released by UK. "I was humbled when John Calipari asked me to become a member of his outstanding staff. Coach Cal embodies the meaning of the word 'success.' The way he prepares young men for their future, in both basketball and life, is remarkable."

Rohrssen, 53, is a Brooklyn native with extensive recruiting ties to New York City. He successfully recruited several top-100 players from the New York City-area to Pittsburgh during his first stint with the Panthers from 1999 to 2006. He returned to Pitt as an assistant coach last season and immediately got the commitment of a top-20 recruit in the class of 2016.

"He has a strong reputation — especially in the Northeast — as a guy who can really recruit and a guy who really builds strong relationships," said Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels. "He has a history of reeling in some pretty good players at Pittsburgh."

Rohrssen (pronounced Raw-son) has also been the head coach at Manhattan (2006-11) and an assistant coach with the NBA Developmental League's Idaho Stampede (2012-13). Before becoming an assistant at Pittsburgh, he was on staff at UNLV and St. Francis (N.Y.), his alma mater.

He also has dabbled in acting, and his film credits include a minor role in 1992's Glengarry Glen Ross, which starred Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon.

According to the New York Post, Rohrssen earned the nickname "Slice" for his ability to knife through defenses like butter during his playing days at St. Francis.

He has been friends with Calipari for more than 30 years, dating back to their time together as counselors at the Five Star Basketball Camp.

"We roomed together at Five Star as counselors, still in college, and have followed each others' careers on the court closely," Calipari said in a statement. "I'm thrilled with what he brings to our staff, both on court and off, in terms of coaching, recruiting and mentoring these young men."

Contract details for Rohrssen were not immediately available. Antigua's base salary for the 2013-14 season was $275,000. He made nearly $70,000 more in performance bonuses.

Rohrssen will join John Robic and Kenny Payne as assistant coaches under Calipari, who led the Wildcats to the national championship game last month. Calipari, Robic and Payne have been together for three Final Four appearances — and one national title — over the past four seasons.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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