LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Closing in on the start of the 2016-2017 season, John Calipari changed up assignments for two of his assistant coaches. John Robic, his long-time assistant through three different coaching stops will now be the special assistant to the head coach. Joel Justus, who joined the staff two seasons ago as director of analytics and then special assistant to the head coach will move into Robic's Assistant Coach role. Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee remain in the other two assistant coach spots.
“I feel I have the best staff of people who surround me in the country,” Calipari said in a release. “All are strong in areas that I’m weak. All of them understand that the relationships with our current players and working with them every single day to help them get better is the key to their success and this program. No one should look at this in any other way than me trying to shuffle our staff to put them in the best positions to succeed personally and for them to help our program remain the gold standard.
“Kenny (Payne), Tony (Barbee) and I will continue to work on putting the best incoming classes that we can together with young people who want Kentucky as bad as we want them and who understand that the program isn’t for everyone. By putting Joel where he is and having him focus on who we need to hone in on, we’ll be more prepared than we’ve ever been, which is scary. Robes will continue to focus on his strength of making us the most well-prepared team in the country and putting our kids in positions to succeed.
“I’m excited to see how the new structure of our staff improves our ability to help kids reach their dreams.”
Justus came to Kentucky after serving two years as head coach at Davidson Day High School in Davidson, North Carolina.
“I am excited, humbled and blessed that Coach Calipari would trust and believe in me with this opportunity,” Justus said. “After two years at Kentucky and 10 previous years at the college and high-school level, I will be able to use what I have learned in this new role as assistant coach. The chance to continue to work with Coach Cal and such an esteemed staff is a dream come true. I am looking forward to contributing more as we help these young men pursue their dreams.”
Robic will not be allowed to work with the players, but will continue to scout opponents, break down film and work on game plans with Calipari.
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Cal has given me in a different role on a tremendous staff,” Robic said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to make this program the best that it can be in this new capacity. I appreciate the support I’ve been given through a tough time. My relationship – and my friendship – with Coach Cal has been a long and lasting one that’s included a lot of special moments and special teams. I’m going to do whatever I need to do to continue to help this program achieve our lofty goals, and I’m excited to continue my relationship with not only Cal but Kenny, Tony and Joel as we continue to make this place the gold standard.”
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