SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua has been named the head coach of the Dominican National Team it was announced by the Dominican Federation on Thursday.
Antigua has spent the past two seasons serving as an assistant to John Calipari for the Dominican team which fell one win shy of advancing to the nation’s first Olympic appearance in 2012.
“I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity,” Antigua said. “Anytime you can coach and be a participant of a national team, it’s very special. For Coach Calipari and (UK Athletics Director) Mitch Barnhart to allow me to take part in this opportunity means a lot, on a personal level as well as professionally.
“I’m also thankful to the Dominican Federation, (Federation GM) Eduardo Najri and (Federation President) Rafael Uribe for their confidence in entrusting this program and team to me,” Antigua said. “It is my goal to build upon the recent success we’ve enjoyed and continue to make this a program the Dominican Republic can be proud of.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Antigua suited up for the national team in 1994-95 and 1997-98. Antigua then served as an assistant coach with Calipari and helped lead the Dominicans to the finals of an Olympic qualifying tournament before losing to Nigeria. The loss prevented the Dominican Republic from reaching its first Olympic games.
Antigua will remain as an assistant at UK after having helped lead Kentucky to a national championship in 2012. Since arriving at UK, the Wildcats have advanced to a pair of Final Fours and reached the Elite Eight three of four years. Antigua serves as Kentucky’s lead recruiter and he has helped UK haul in five-straight No. 1 rated recruiting classes.
“I’m happy for Orlando and this opportunity to lead the Dominican Republic national team,” Calipari said. “I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish over the past two years, getting this country to the brink of its first-ever Olympic appearance. I’m confident with the experience he has that Orlando will build on the team’s success and take it to new heights.”
The Dominican Republic will report to training camp at the beginning of August before taking the floor for a pair of exhibition contests against Puerto Rico on Aug. 14 and Aug. 16. Antigua will then lead the Dominicans into competition at the Jenaro “Tuto” Marchand Continental Cup from Aug. 22-26 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.