LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Barry Rohrssen has joined the UK men's basketball coaching staff as an assistant coach, head coach John Calipari announced Thursday.
Rohrssen comes to Lexington after serving as an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in the 2013-14 season, his second stint at Pitt.
“It’s an honor to be part of a program that has the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball,” Rohrssen said. “I was humbled when John Calipari asked me to become a member of his outstanding staff. Coach Cal embodies the meaning of the word ‘success.’ The way he prepares young men for their future, in both basketball and life, is remarkable. Additionally, I’m grateful to represent the most passionate fan base in sports, the Big Blue Nation.”
Rohrssen initially came to Pittsburgh in 1999 as a part of head coach Ben Howland’s staff. Upon Jamie Dixon’s hiring in 2003, Rohrssen remained in that position, through the 2006 season. This season, he helped lead the Panthers to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th appearance in the last 13 seasons.
“Barry has been part of my coaching family for the past 30-some years. We roomed together at Five Star as counselors, still in college, and have followed each others’ careers on the court closely,” Calipari said. “I’m thrilled with what he brings to our staff, both on court and off, in terms of coaching, recruiting and mentoring these young men.”
During a five-year period of his first stint at Pitt, he helped guide the Panthers to a 133-33 overall record (.801 winning percentage), a 59-21 Big East regular-season record (.738 winning percentage), four Big East championships (three regular season), three NCAA Sweet 16 berths and five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In addition, Pitt won its first-ever Big East Tournament title in 2003. At Pitt, he served in three different capacities including the associate head coach under Dixon from 2004-06, assistant coach (2001-04) and director of operations (1999-2001).
Rohrssen has over 19 years of major college coaching experience. He became the 22nd head coach at Manhattan College on April 25, 2006, a position he held for five seasons from 2006-11. His best season came in 2008-09 when he guided the Jaspers to a 16-14 overall record and fourth-place finish in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 9-9 league slate. Many of the players he recruited earned a postseason berth and won 21 games in 2011-12. Rohrssen improved academic progress ratings at Manhattan as he graduated every player that stayed for four years and dramatically improved the school's basketball NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
During the 2012-13 season Rohrssen was hired by the Portland Trailblazers organization to assist their NBA Development League club, the Idaho Stampede.
Prior to his first stint at Pitt, Rohrssen served as the school's director of operations at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 1995-99 under head coach Bill Bayno. While at UNLV, the program experienced a resurgence as the Runnin' Rebels captured the 1998 Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship and advanced to postseason play in three of his four years. Rohrssen's duties included serving as a liaison to the athletic administration and other school officials, coordination of student-athletes' game, practice and daily schedules, as well as serving as UNLV's director of summer basketball camps.
Rohrssen also has extensive international coaching experience. In both 1991 and 1992, Rohrssen represented the United States at the World International Championships in both Poland and England, respectively. He also co-coached an American All-Star team in 1998 that finished 5-0 in Tahiti. In 2000, he also served as an assistant coach with a USA Junior Team that competed at an international tournament in Leon, Spain. Later that summer, Rohrssen helped lead a New York City squad to a gold medal title at the 2000 Empire State Games.
He played in the Catholic High School Athletic Association at Xavieran High School in Brooklyn and is a member of the school's Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.