John Calipari announced some changes to the structure of his staff on Friday, with two assistants permanently swapping roles.
The Kentucky men’s basketball head coach announced on his web site that assistant coach John Robic would permanently switch roles with special assistant to the head coach Joel Justus.
Calipari made Justus a temporary assistant coach during the offseason so that Robic could have some time away after the death of his father. Justus was on the road recruiting in Robic’s place with the NCAA’s approval. Calipari said that “after watching Joel work and knowing John’s strengths, which are many,” he elected to make the move permanent.
“First and foremost, John Robic has been and will continue to be my closest confidant,” Calipari said. “He has been with me for 20 years as we’ve rebuilt three different programs. Robes has been with me nearly every step of the way over an incredible journey, and he will continue to be as we try to take this thing to the next level.”
Robic will continue to be involved in game preparation. He will also prepare scouting reports and help break down film.
Meanwhile, Justus will get the opportunity to work as a recruiter on a permanent basis. Calipari said Justus will have a special role in terms of helping recruit underclassmen, something he said Kentucky hasn’t done as well because of its reliance on one-and-done players.
“We became so fixated on trying to replace players each year that we weren’t touching some of the younger kids and were coming in late,” Calipari said. “Because of that, just about every other program has been ahead of us on underclassmen recruiting, and it has affected some of the kids who we weren’t able to touch until later in the process. That’s my fault. I believe Joel will greatly help in that area and fills a void.”
Both changes are effective immediately.
“Let me be really clear: I feel I have the best staff of people who surround me in the country,” Calipari said. “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.