Kentucky’s men’s basketball assistant coaches Kenny Payne and John Robic have signed new multi-year extensions with the University of Kentucky, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and head coach John Calipari announced on Wednesday.
Payne, who has been with the team for four seasons, signed a new two-year deal worth $500,000 annually plus incentives and was promoted to associate head coach.
“There’s not a better partner to work with to help these young men achieve their dreams,” Calipari said. “His feel for the game and ability to develop players is second to none. I have all the confidence in the world that Kenny will make a great head coach someday, but we're ecstatic to have him as a part of our staff as associate head coach for the near future.”
Robic, who has been at Kentucky for five seasons, inked a two-year deal worth $375,000 annually with the opportunity for incentives.
“No one knows me better and knows what I need to be prepared to coach a game than John,” Calipari said. “He’s been a loyal friend who has helped me build three different programs. He’s as good as they get.”
Since Calipari’s arrival at Kentucky, the Wildcats have posted a 152-37 record, won the 2012 national championship, appeared in the 2014 title game, advanced to three Final Fours and four Elite Eights. UK has claimed two regular season Southeastern Conference titles and two SEC Tournament crowns.
Seventeen players have been drafted by the NBA with two more projected in the upcoming draft in June. UK’s first-ever No. 1 overall draft choices have come during Calipari’s tenure. John Wall was selected first overall in 2010 and Anthony Davis followed in 2012. The duo was also Kentucky’s first national player of the year honorees. Furthermore, both Wall and Davis became NBA All-Stars in 2014.
Kentucky has had 10 players graduate in the last five years – including every player who has exhausted his athletic eligibility. Patrick Patterson and Jarrod Polson both earned their degrees in three years. UK’s players have amassed a collective 3.0 grade-point average or higher in each of the last five semesters.
UK has hauled in the top-rated recruiting class in four of five seasons under Calipari’s tutelage. This year’s four-player class is rated No. 2 overall by most recruiting services and will accompany eight scholarship players from the 2013-14 national runner-up squad.
Kentucky is set to return 67 percent of its assists (300), 65 percent of minutes played, 59 percent of its scoring (1,773) and 54 percent of its rebounds (872) produced from its 2013-14 roster which includes Willie Cauley-Stein, Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress, all of whom have started at least four games in their careers.
Additional returnees include freshmen Dominque Hawkins and Derek Willis, who all saw action this season. The Wildcats will also welcome four McDonald’s All-America and Jordan Brand Classic players in Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyler Ulis.
In addition to Payne’s and Robic’s extensions, UK announced the hiring of new assistant Barry Rohrssen (pronounced Roar-son) last week to complete the staff.