Antigua Ready to Make History with USF Bulls
Saying he's not afraid of the had work that it will take to make the USF men's basketball program successful - and also not afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve - new head coach Orlando Antigua was introduced to the Bay Area community Tuesday.
The current University of Kentucky assistant coach told Bulls' fans he knows he comes to USF with one job to do.
"We must win and give you a product that you can support," the 41-year-old former Harlem Globetrotter said. "We will run a championship program, one that will compete against the best on the court, in the classroom and on the recruiting trails."
Antigua, who is also head coach of the national team from his native country, the Dominican Republic, is regarded as one of college basketball's best recruiters. He has helped bring in five straight number one ranked recruiting classes at Kentucky, including this year's group of five freshmen starters who will play in the NCAA Final Four in Texas this weekend.
Antigua will help coach the Wildcats in the tournament before taking over at USF.
He said his boss at Kentucky, head coach John Calipari, had nothing but praise for USF when he told Calipari he was a candidate for the Bulls' job.
"He said that it's a sleeping giant, unbelievable opportunity, go get the job and go surprise people, go make history - that's what he said," Antigua said.
Antigua visibly choked up when he talked about Calipari and his fellow coaches on the UK staff. He also became emotional when he thanked his family, particularly his son, 20-year-old Orlando Anthony, who was given leave from the U.S. Marines to attend the press conference.
“To my new family, to this program, this community, this city, I say I can’t wait to get to know all that you have to offer and I look forward to this journey," Antigua said.
"Everywhere that I’ve been, the programs I’ve been around have all been about the student-athletes, they’ve been about creating a family atmosphere. We will do that here at South Florida," he added. "As teachers and educators, we will demand the most of our student-athletes on the court and in the classroom."
Antigua's five-year contract is worth $4.75 million, with incentives that could increase that. His base salary begins at $900,000 a season and goes up $25,000 a year.
USF still owes Stan Heath, who was fired after last season, a $1.5 million dollar buyout. Heath was 97-130 in seven seasons at USF, including 12-20 this past season.