UK Men's Basketball

Calipari shakes up UK staff, promoting Justus, moving Robic off court

Assistant coaches Tony Barbee, left, and Joel Justus, right, flanked Kentucky head coach John Calipari during the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament game against Indiana in Des Moines, Iowa, last March.
Assistant coaches Tony Barbee, left, and Joel Justus, right, flanked Kentucky head coach John Calipari during the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament game against Indiana in Des Moines, Iowa, last March. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Kentucky promoted Joel Justus to a coaching position while moving longtime assistant John Robic to an off-court role, the school announced Friday.

Justus joined UK two seasons ago as the director of analytics. He later became special assistant to Coach John Calipari.

Robic, who has served off and on Calipari staffs since the 1980s, will remain the UK coach’s “right-hand man,” according to a news release. He will continue to scout opponents, help Calipari prepare game plans, do film work and “carry out special projects and assignments,” the news release said. NCAA rules will prohibit Robic from coaching on the court with players.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Cal has given me in a different role on a tremendous staff,” Robic said in a prepared statement. “I’m looking forward to continuing to make this program the best that it can be in this new capacity.”

Robic came to Kentucky with Calipari in 2009. He also worked on Calipari’s staffs at Massachusetts (late 1980s to late 1990s) and Memphis (2006-09).

Justus came to UK from Davidson (N.C.) Day High School, where he was head coach. On the college level, he had been an assistant coach at Elon from 2004 to 2008.

At Kentucky, he analyzed player and team performance and helped develop better player efficiency.

“I am excited, humbled and blessed that Coach Calipari would trust and believe in me with this opportunity,” Justus said in a news release.

Calipari said that he and assistants Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee will continue to lead UK’s recruiting effort. Justus will help UK focus on being “more prepared than we’ve ever been, which is scary,” Calipari said in the news release.

Calipari also said UK will have “the best staff of people who surround me in the country.”

Jerry Tipton: 859-231-3227, @JerryTipton

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