Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com 6:51pm November 4, 2014

Born in the Dominican Republic, but raised in the Bronx, coach Antigua was known as a tough kid. According to Fox News, as a fourteen year old teen, Coach Orlando Antigua survived a shot to the head as an innocent bystander during a drive-by shooting that took place just blocks away from his home. With the bullet being lodged into his head, Antigua survived the horrifying incident.

Being the tough kid that he was, Antigua returned to play for his high school basketball team just weeks after the incident.

Fast forward several years later, Coach Antigua brought that Bronx toughness to the field of basketball. He became an aggressive Division 1 recruiter, which eventually helped him to land assistant coaching jobs with both Jami Dixon at Pittsburgh (2003- 2008) and with Coach John Calipari in Memphis and Kentucky (2008- 2014). During his time on the Kentucky bench with Coach Calipari, he helped to lead the team to three (3) NCAA Final Four appearances (2011, 2012 & 2014), four (4) NCAA Elite Eights and an NCAA National Championship in 2012.

Coach Antigua stayed on the bench as an assistant coach under Coach Calipari until landing the Head Coaching job at South Florida in 2014.

On the bench with him in Florida will be legendary point guard from New York, Rod Strickland, who was also an assistant coach with Kentucky over the last six (6) years; and his brother Oliver Antigua, who served with him as an assistant coach with the Dominic Republic National Team.

Rebuilding a team that finished 12-20 overall and 3-15 in the American Atlantic Conference will be an uphill battle. South Florida ranked only 296th in scoring last season and their top scorer, Victor Rudd has graduated. South Florida fans will have to be patient but I’m sure that Coach Antigua has what it takes to transform South Florida into a contender in the American Atlantic conference.

 

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