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The Associated Press | March 31, 2014

USF hires Antigua as head coach

  Orlando Antigua spent the last five seasons at Kentucky as an assistant.

TAMPA, Fla. -- South Florida hired Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua as its new basketball coach on Monday.

Antigua has spent the past six seasons working under John Calipari, five of them at Kentucky, which is making its third trip to the Final Four in four years.

The 41-year-old Antigua replaces Stan Heath, who was fired after compiling a 97-130 record in seven seasons.

The hiring comes less than a week after the Bulls had an agreement in principle with Manhattan's Steve Masiello. The deal fell apart because Masiello doesn't have a college diploma, one of the requirements for the USF job.

USF athletic director Mark Harlan also interviewed UNLV's Dave Rice, who remained with the Rebels after receiving a contract extension.

"I said from the beginning of this search, we were looking for a great leader, a great communicator, a proven record of being able to recruit and develop players, and someone who will represent USF with exceptional energy and integrity," Harlan said in a statement released by the school.

"We have found all of that and more in Orlando Antigua," Harlan added. "He has tremendous passion and a unique and exciting background that includes being a key participant in one of the most successful recent runs in the college game."

Antigua, who is coach of the Dominican Republic national team, played at Pittsburgh from 1991-95 and later was a member of coach Jamie Dixon's staff with the Panthers. He spent one year at Memphis under Calipari, before his boss headed to Kentucky.

"I have been preparing for the challenge of leading a program my entire life and I have a deep belief and passion that USF basketball can thrive," Antigua said in the school statement.

Antigua will be introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.

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