The Nevada Wolf Pack are targeting Tony Barbee to be its next basketball coach, per a CBSSports.com report. A meeting is planned early this week between Barbee and Nevada Athletic Director Doug Knuth.
Barbee, who is 42, is currently an assistant head coach at Kentucky under John Calipari and before that has held head coaching position at UTEP and Auburn.
Barbee played at the University of Massachusetts under Calipari and after playing overseas, became an assistant to Calipari at UMass the year the Minutemen reached the Final Four in 1996. After stints as an assistant at Wyoming and Memphis, he took over the head coaching job at UTEP in August of 2006. While at UTEP, Barbee led the Miners to three trips to the postseason (two CBIs and one NCAA appearance), and in 2010, won the Conference USA regular season championship and won the C-USA coach of the year. Overall, Barbee posted a 82-52 record at UTEP.
Barbee was hired at Auburn in March of 2010 but could not replicate the success there as he did at UTEP as he posted only a 49-75 record at Auburn and finished no higher that 5th in the SEC standings. Auburn fired Barbee on March 12th, 2014. But in August, Barbee was hired on by Kentucky as an special assistant to Calipari where he has been since.
If Knuth hires Barbee as the head coach of the Wolf Pack, he will have to deal with a basketball program that is underfunded, its facilities are miles behind the rest of the Mountain West schools and fan support is low to put it mildly. The new coach is going to have to be able to recruit well and develop those players and compete for NCAA births while doing that on basically a shoestring budget.
Will it be Barbee or someone else who can bring Nevada back to respectability? We will see in the next few days.