Tony Barbee Named Men's Basketball Head Coach at UTEP
UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull named Tony Barbee as the school's 17th men's basketball head coach on Monday. Barbee succeeds Doc Sadler, who recently accepted the head coaching position at the University of Nebraska.
"It has been a fast and furious process," Stull said. "I'm happy for Doc Sadler. I think it's a great move for him and his family, but it certainly put a lot of pressure on us to make some quick decisions with school starting next week. Fortunately we had an outstanding group of candidates, all of whom we feel would have been successful here. However, we believe Tony is the right choice to lead the program at this time.
"Tony has been extremely successful as a player and coach, going to 15 consecutive postseason tournaments," Stull said. "He is recognized as a tremendous recruiter. We have enjoyed a strong run with 72 wins in three years, and three straight postseason tournaments. We feel Tony can carry on the tradition of excellence established by coach Don Haskins and maintained over the years."
"I'd like to thank [UTEP President] Dr. Diana Natalicio and Bob Stull for giving me the opportunity to lead the basketball program at such a prestigious university," Barbee said. "I look forward to getting to know Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins. He has set the bar really high for this program with everything he accomplished, including winning the national title in 1966.
"I want to thank [Memphis coach] John Calipari for mentoring me and showing confidence in me," Barbee said. "I am honored to have him as my coach, mentor, friend and now competitor in Conference USA. I look forward to the rivalries with him and the other great coaches in the league. Most importantly, I look forward to spending some time getting to know a fine group of young men at UTEP, and letting them see my vision and coaching philosophy. Together we will work to lead UTEP to the top of Conference USA. I'm excited about becoming an important part of the UTEP family and the El Paso community."
Barbee, 35, joins the Miner program following a highly successful six-year run (2000-06) as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis. During that span the Tigers won 148 games, an average of nearly 25 victories per season. Memphis has also made six consecutive postseason tournament appearances (2003, 2004 and 2006 NCAA; 2001, 2002 and 2005 NIT) and enjoyed six straight 20-win seasons. During the six-year span, the Tigers have earned final Associated Press top-25 rankings on three occasions 19th in 2003, 24th in 2004 and fourth in 2006.
The Tigers are coming off a banner 2005-06 campaign, posting a 33-4 record and reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Memphis captured Conference USA regular season and tournament crowns, and had two players chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft Rodney Carney (Philadelphia 76ers via the Chicago Bulls) and Shawne Williams (Indiana Pacers). The Tigers closed out the year rated second nationally in won-lost percentage (.892) and field goal percentage defense (.380), fifth in scoring margin (+14.6 ppg), eighth in blocked shots per game (6.4) and ninth in rebound margin (+6.7 rpg).
Other highlights from Barbee’s tenure at Memphis have included the Tigers winning the 2002 postseason NIT, and racking up 69 victories in Conference USA play. Memphis claimed a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular season crown, and finished first in the league's National Division in 2002 and 2003.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Barbee has had a long-standing relationship with Memphis head coach John Calipari. He played for "Coach Cal" at Massachusetts, before reuniting with him as an assistant coach at Memphis.
Not only is Barbee recognized as an up-and-coming young coach, but he is regarded as one of the nation's premier recruiters as well. He was named the top assistant in Conference USA in Street & Smith's 2005-06 preseason college basketball yearbook. He was recently honored by Rivals.com as the no. 3 recruiter in the country. HoopScoop magazine tabbed him as one of the nation's top assistant coaches in 2004.
Memphis has produced top-10 recruiting classes in each of the last six years, including a 2001 group that was rated number one in the country. The 2002 class also would have been top-ranked had it not lost a player to the NBA.
Four players coached by Barbee are currently in the NBA Carney, Williams, Antonio Burks (Memphis Grizzlies) and Marcus Camby (Denver Nuggets).
Besides his on-the-floor duties and coordinating all recruiting activities at Memphis, Barbee supervised all academic activities for the men's basketball program.
Barbee began his coaching career as an assistant at UMass (1996-98), where he was involved with two NCAA Tournament teams. He joined the Wyoming coaching staff for the 1998-99 season -- a position that allowed him to recruit off campus for the first time. The Cowboys logged an 18-10 mark that year, advancing to the second round of the postseason NIT.
Barbee returned to his alma mater as an assistant for the 1999-00 campaign. UMass reached the postseason NIT that year. Working with the team's post players, Barbee mentored one of the Atlantic 10 Conference's best big men in Kitwana Rhymer.
Barbee worked as a graduate assistant at UMass during the 1995-96 season. The Minutemen fashioned a 35-2 mark, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Final Four under the direction of John Calipari. Barbee duties that year included serving as the team's radio color analyst.
As a player at Massachusetts, Barbee was instrumental in the Minutemen posting a 91-39 record and earning four straight postseason tournament bids. UMass won back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference regular season and tournament trophies in 1992 and 1993. Barbee still rates among the school's all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories, including scoring (1,643 points). His collegiate honors included second team All-Atlantic 10 in 1991 and 1993, and All-Atlantic 10 Freshman Team in 1990.
He helped UMass reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 1992, and the Final Four of the NIT in 1991. His last-second three-pointer against Siena extended the Minutemen's season, sending the NIT quarterfinal game into overtime.
Following his days at UMass, Barbee enjoyed a professional playing career in Spain and France.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Management from UMass in 1994, with a minor in African American studies.
Barbee and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra (7) and a son, Andrew Marsh (2).