Throughout his coaching career when having to fill a staff vacancy, John Calipari first looks to family -- former staffers or players that either want to get their start in the profession or have another opportunity to restart their careers.
But, this past offseason when both Derek Kellogg and Chuck Martin took head coach positions at UMass and Marist, respectively, and asked some Tiger staffers to join them, Calipari looked to bring a new face into the family.
In his search, Calipari found that new family member from an area he is all to familiar with. Calipari went back to his roots in western Pennsylvania, and hired Orlando Antigua to join his staff. Antigua, a former University of Pittsburgh standout, comes to Memphis after spending the last five seasons on his alma mater's staff, including the last two years as an assistant coach.
Antigua joins the Tigers at the time of the most successful run in school history. The past three years, Memphis was the winningest program in NCAA Division I with 104 victories (104-10 record) and advanced to the 2008 NCAA championship game and 2006 and 2007 NCAA Elite Eights. The Tigers won over 30 games all three seasons -- including an NCAA record 38 victories in 2007-08 -- and swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, posting an incredible 54-1 mark against league foes over that span of time.
Since 2005-06, the Tigers have been a mainstay in the national polls. Memphis enters 2008-09 tied with UCLA for most consecutive weeks in the polls at 58, and the Tigers and Bruins are the only two programs to be ranked in every poll the last three years. In 2007-08, Memphis made school history with its climb to the No. 1 spot in both national polls and remained there for a program-record, five-straight weeks.
Antigua brings his own impressive resume of success to Memphis. During his five years at Pittsburgh, he helped lead the Panthers to a overall record of 132-40 (.767 winning percentage) and a Big East Conference mark of 55-27 (.670 winning percentage). Pittsburgh recorded five-straight, 20-win campaigns and won 10 or more league games five-consecutive years.
The Panthers had just as much success in the postseason during Antigua's years. Pittsburgh won the 2003-04 Big East regular season crown and advanced to four Big East Tournament championship games in his five years on staff, claiming the 2008 league postseason title. The Panthers earned NCAA Tournament bids all five of Antigua's years and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and 2007.
Pittsburgh also had 113-straight home sellouts in Antigua's tenure.
Antigua's first stint with Pittsburgh was his collegiate playing days from 1991-95. A four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain, Antigua ranks in the top 15 on the Panthers' all-time three-pointers made (11th with 117 treys) and blocked shots (12th with 78 swats) and in the top 10 for career three-point percentage (6th at 38.6 percent). For his career, he scored 930 points and grabbed 409 rebounds, while starting 78 of his 116 games played.
A 1992 Big East Conference All-Rookie Team pick, Antigua helped lead the Panthers to an 18-16 record and an National Invitation Tournament (NIT) berth as a freshman. The following year, Antigua's Panthers went 17-11 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid. In 1994, he was named the United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) Most Courageous Athlete, an honor presented annually to the college basketball player who displays courage on and off the court. Antigua, who averaged 10.0 points each of his last two seasons, graduated from Pittsburgh with a 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, Antigua played with the Globetrotters for seven years until 2002. He represented the team in 49 different countries and on tours to South America, South Africa and on the acclaimed "Youth in Our Lives Tour."
Antigua also played in the Puerto Rico Superior Basketball League for eight years, and in both 1994-95 and 1997-98, he was a member of the Dominican Republic national team. 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.
Prior to rejoining the Panthers' program, Antigua served as an assistant basketball coach at nearby Mt. Lebanon High School in 2002-03. That same year, he also worked as a sales representative for Cavanaugh Promotions.
A Dominican Republic native who was raised in Bronx, N.Y., Antigua recovered from a 1988 Halloween incident where he was shot in the head near his left eye. Undeterred by the incident, Antigua quickly returned to the playing court two weeks later, and went on to play three seasons at Pittsburgh with the slug in his head. Doctors initially ruled out removing the bullet as being too risky, but Antigua began suffering severe headaches.
Antigua's family also went through a period of homelessness. The oldest of three brothers, Antigua was credited with keeping the family together while housing was secured.
He overcame these difficulties and went on to serve as student council president at St. Raymond's High School. As a member of the school's basketball squad, Antigua 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. At that time, Antigua became the school's second all-time leading scorer with over 1,000 points.
Fluent in Spanish, Antigua and his wife, Dana, have two children: a son, Orlando Anthony, and a daughter, Olivia.