After spending one year on the coaching staff at LSU, long-time assistant Robert Kirby is once again leaving the SEC, this time to join Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers.
Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune reports that the first-year LSU assistant resigned as an assistant coach on Monday night in order to take a similar position at Memphis. Kirby’s information has already been removed from the LSU coaching staff page.
“I totally enjoyed my year here at LSU,” Kirby told NOLA.com. “It was very educational as well as enjoyable with the players that we had here to work with as well as the coaching staff. Baton Rouge and the LSU family is a great family and they welcomed me with open arms and I will never forget them. I will never forget the times I had here and the people I worked with. They were just outstanding.”
Kirby has spent the majority of his career — through two different stints — with Mississippi State. Before joining Johnny Jones’ coaching staff, Kirby spent two years with John Thompson III at Georgetown.
Kirby’s hiring is waiting approval of the University and Tennessee State Board of Regents. If that goes through, Pastner adds one of the top assistant coaches in the country, who has 28 years of experience. Kirby will also help on the recruiting trail, being named one of the top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com. Adding a Memphis native will help add to Pastner’s success recruiting in the Bluff City.
“We’re excited to have Coach (Robert) Kirby join our staff,” Pastner said in a school statement. “He’s one of the elite coaches in the country in both recruiting and on-the-floor coaching. He’ll be great with our guys in establishing relationships with them.
“Coach Kirby is also from Memphis, and it’s good to get him back home. We’re honored that he’s a part of our staff.”
The Tigers finished 31-5 (16-0 Conference USA), ending the 2012-2013 campaign with a 70-48 loss to Michigan State in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Memphis will be playing in the American Athletic Conference this season.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.