Well, let's see. He's 33 years old and entering his 9th season as a D1 assistant. By comparison, Bruiser was around 30 or 31 when he took over the reigns at UMass, with 7 years of assistant coaching experience. Both men have been top lieutenants (in-game coaching, practices, and recruiting) for John Calipari, a guy who knows how to win, how to get the most out of his players, and how to sell a program to the fans and media.m626t wrote:what makes anyone think Barbee can run a D1 program at this point anyway?? and, don't even try to compare him to Cal, at any stage of their careers; there is none.
Here's some info that fulfills the "comes from a winning program" criterion:
In Barbee's four seasons in Memphis, he helped lead the Tigers to four-straight 20-win seasons and four-consecutive postseason berths.
Since 2000-01, Memphis also won the 2002 NIT championship, claimed a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular season crown and took home the 2002 and 2003 C-USA National Division titles. The Tigers also finished the last two seasons ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll - No. 19 in 2003 and No. 24 in 2004.
After beginning his coaching career as the third assistant at UMass from 1996-98, Barbee joined the Wyoming coaching staff for the 1998-99 season in a position that allowed him to recruit off campus. In his only year with the Cowboys, Barbee assisted in guiding Wyoming to an 18-10 mark and an NIT appearance, advancing to the postseason's second round.
Some info that fulfills the "recruiting" criterion:
The Memphis basketball fortunes have changed for the better - much better - the last four years, and much of that has to do with the coaching staff's commitment to recruiting - an area in which Barbee excels.
In addition to his on-court responsibilities, Barbee has become one of the nation's top recruiters. In the spring of 2004, Rivals.com named Barbee among the country's top 25 recruiters and HoopScoop magazine listed him as one of the nation's top assistant coaches.
The recognition Barbee has received is most deserving. Since arriving in Memphis, Calipari and his staff have raked in recruiting classes that have been ranked in the top 10 every year. The Tigers' 2001 and 2004 recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the nation, while the other three groups were rated in the top 10. Memphis was destined for another No. 1 class in 2002 before its top signee opted for the NBA, but the class still wound up in the top 10.
Here's a reference that fulfills the "teaching" criterion:
During his second stint at UMass, Barbee worked with the Minutemen's post players, including Kitwana Rhymer who ranked among the Atlantic 10 Conference's top 10 in both rebounding and blocked shots.
"We start off practices with individual work," UMass head coach Bruiser Flint said. "Tony has done a good job with our post players. Tony gets Kit in, works with him, watches tape with him and the kid is really starting to develop. He's good at teaching those guys."
I don't have any more recent references, but I do not believe he got WORSE at it after four more seasons under Calipari.
I'm not sure how he would handle getting kids to class, graduating players, handling controversy, etc. But I guess you have to believe that he's learned how to do all that too. PLUS, he comes without the fat contract Lappas was commanding when he showed up. AND he can hopefully reenergize a fan base (and media coverage) that's been dwindling steadily the past few years.
What else does a guy have to do to get a shot with a down program such as UMass? You think you're skeptical about Barbee. I'm more concerned that he's going to say "pass" on UMass. Now THAT would be a shame.
I don't mean to get this post way off topic, I just wanted the response to be public since the question was public. I'd be more than happy to debate this subject via private message.
**Biographical info courtesy of http://gotigersgo.collegesports.com**