Orlando Antigua is in his third season as head coach of the USF men’s basketball team.
In a season filled with injuries and other unfortunate events, the Bulls won four conference games during the 2015-16 season, the most by the program in four seasons. Antigua also led USF to its first conference tournament win in four years with a 71-66 victory over East Carolina in the first round. Overall, the Bulls finished 8-25 in Antigua’s second season.
In his first season, Antigua got off to the best start through six games for a first-year head coach in school history with a 5-1 record. The Bulls had just three players on their roster with experience at the NCAA Division I level and lost two of those three players during the season for various reasons. The Bulls finished 9-23 in Antigua’s first season.
Antigua spent two seasons (2013-15) as head coach of the Dominican Republic men’s national team. After being hired as the ninth men’s basketball coach in USF history on March 31, 2014, Antigua took the Dominican Republic to unprecedented heights. Already qualified for the FIBA World Cup for the first time since 1978, the Dominican Republic went 2-3 in Group C, which advanced Antigua’s squad to the “bracket round,” which included just 16 teams, for the first time in the country’s history.
Antigua came to USF after having worked as an assistant coach under 2015 Naismith Hall of Famer John Calipari for the previous six seasons. He spent one season with Calipari at Memphis (2008-09) and five at Kentucky (2009-14). Antigua also helped recruit much of the Wildcat roster that came two wins shy of an undefeated season in 2014-15. He also worked for five seasons under Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon (2003-08) and has been a part of teams that have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the Sweet Sixteen seven times.
Named the top assistant coach in the nation under 40 by ESPN.com in 2012, Antigua is widely recognized as one of the premier recruiters in the nation. He was instrumental in assembling five straight No. 1 ranked recruiting classes at Kentucky. Kentucky’s 2013-14 team became the first to reach a Final Four with an all-freshmen starting lineup since Michigan in 1992.
In his first season as a Kentucky assistant, Antigua helped the Wildcats assemble a No. 1 ranked recruiting class that saw three of those recruits selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He was subsequently named to Yahoo! Sports list of the top 10 college basketball recruiters. The Wildcats had a record six players selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, including the first two picks in Anthony Davis (No. 1) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2). Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation while featuring a record six McDonald’s All-Americans and was considered one of the top classes ever assembled.
During his five seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats made three NCAA Final Four appearances (2011, 2012 & 2014), reached four NCAA Elite Eights and won the 2012 NCAA national championship. Kentucky won two SEC regular season (2010 & 2012) and two SEC Tournament titles (2010 & 2011) and compiled a 152-37 (.804) record while reaching the postseason every year.
In his one season at Memphis, Antigua helped the Tigers to a 33-4 record and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen after winning Conference USA regular season and tournament titles.
Prior to joining Calipari at Memphis, Antigua spent five seasons on Jamie Dixon’s staff at his alma mater, Pittsburgh. He served as Director of Basketball Operations from 2003-05 and as an assistant coach from 2006-08. He helped lead the Panthers to a 132-40 (.767) record, with a mark of 55-27 (.670) in Big East play. Pitt recorded five straight 20-win seasons, winning 10 or more league games each year, and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and 2007.
A four-year lettermen and two-time team captain as a player at Pittsburgh (1991-95), Antigua ranks in the top 15 on the Panthers’ career charts in three-pointers made (117 treys), blocked shots (78) and career three-point percentage (38.6). A 1992 Big East Conference All-Rookie Team selection, Antigua helped lead the Panthers to an 18-16 record and an NIT berth as a freshman under coach Paul Evans. The following year, the Panthers went 17-11 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid.
In 1994, Antigua was named the United States Basketball Writers' Association Most Courageous Athlete, an honor presented annually to the college basketball player who displays courage on and off the court. Antigua graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in December 1995.
After graduation, Antigua was selected to play for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters, becoming the first player of Latin American descent to play for the squad. Nicknamed "Hurricane" for his dazzling moves, the 6-7 Antigua played with the Globetrotters for seven years until 2002. He represented the squad in 49 different countries, meeting luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman and Regis and Kathy Lee.
Antigua also played in the Puerto Rico Superior Basketball League for eight seasons and was twice a member of the Dominican Republic National Team (1994-95 and 1997-98). Because of his dedication to the community, Antigua was named one of the nation’s top 100 most influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business magazine.
Born in the Dominican Republic but raised in The Bronx borough of New York City, Antigua attended St. Raymond's High School, where he played a major role in the team's New York Catholic League championship run. As a senior, he earned McDonald's All-America and Parade magazine All-America second-team honors and was also named All-New York City.
Fluent in Spanish, Antigua and his wife, Dana, have a daughter, Olivia, and a son, Orlando Anthony, who is currently serving in the Marine Corps and is based in North Carolina.
WHAT WAS SAID ABOUT ORLANDO ANTIGUA WHEN HE WAS HIRED
Judy Genshaft, USF President
“I look forward to Coach Antigua leading the men’s basketball program to success and also becoming a leader for our students here on campus, and also for the Tampa Bay community at large.”
Mark Harlan, USF Director of Athletics
"We were looking for a great leader, a great communicator, with a proven record of being able to recruit and develop players, and someone who will represent USF with exceptional energy and integrity. We have found all of that and more in Orlando Antigua."
John Calipari, head coach at Kentucky
“I am so excited that Orlando has been hired by the University of South Florida. Based on what he’s done with the Dominican Republic National Team as their head coach and his work with our family over the last five years at Kentucky and one season at Memphis, I have the utmost confidence in him to lead this program to new heights. My guess is they will do things that have never been done before at South Florida. We’re all going to miss him and his family after we finish this run.”
Jamie Dixon, head coach at Pittsburgh
“Orlando has great passion for the game of basketball, is a hard worker and will bring great personality to the position at USF. Orlando played a key role in our success here at Pitt for five seasons. We are extremely proud of Orlando and all of our former assistants who have gone on to further their careers. We wish Orlando the best in his new opportunity at USF.”
Oliver Antigua, assistant coach at USF, younger brother of Orlando
“He’s a natural leader. He was always someone who was respected by his players and coaches and we all knew he was going to be a coach. It was a natural fit for him. I think he will gain the respect and the trust of the players. I think you’re going to see a team that’s going to work really hard.”
Seth Davis, CBS Sports via @SethDavisHoops
“Brilliant move by USF to hire UK asst Orlando Antigua. Great recruiter, great coach, great guy--and a former Globetrotter!”
Seth Greenberg, ESPN via @SethonHoops
“Tremendous hire. First class person and coach.”
Dick Vitale, ESPN
“Great communicator. Great work ethic. One of the best recruiters in the nation.”
John Rothstein, CBS Sports
“The location of this job falls right into Antigua's wheel house. After serving as head coach of the Dominican Republic's national team last summer, Antigua will be in a prime spot to immediately aid the Bulls' program with his international rolodex. South Florida has easy access to several foreign hotbeds that the longtime Wildcats' assistant can tap into immediately.”
Andy Katz, ESPN
“Great pick up for the Bulls. He’s a great recruiter and now gets an opportunity to be a head coach. The American Conference needs new energy at a school like South Florida to be successful. Antigua could be that answer.”
Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
“I know he’ll be a great coach.”
Marcus Lee, Kentucky
“He is the most energetic person I ever met.”