Calipari adds veteran NBA assistant to staff

Published 11:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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On Monday, Kentucky coach John Calipari added a veteran NBA assistant and offensive guru to his coaching staff.

John Welch, who has great knowledge of the dribble-drive offense, served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020, a squad that advanced to the Western Conference semifinals in his last season. He had 20 years of coaching experience in the NBA and ten in the collegiate ranks.

He also had NBA stints with the Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies. He was an assistant under Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State for seven years and was an assistant at Long Beach State.

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Welch has worked under notable coaches such as Doc Rivers, George Karl, Jason Kidd, Hubie Brown and Tarkanian.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Kentucky basketball program,” Welch said. “I look forward to working with Coach Cal and his tremendous coaching and support staff. Helping players grow and develop has always been my passion as a coach, and I can’t wait to get in the gym with our team this summer.

“It is an honor to become a part of Big Blue Nation’s proud basketball tradition and have the opportunity to assist in the continued success of the premier program in college basketball.”

Calipari is looking forward to having Welch on his staff.

“He loves the game and will be a tremendous asset to our young players and our staff,” Calipari said. “John has worked closely for decades with Vance Walberg, who developed the dribble-drive offense and was a pioneer of bringing it to the NBA. With the strength of our guards and perimeter players, we need to get back to that style of play.

“John will be involved heavily in our offensive strategy and will be our lead coach in on-court player development. We’re excited to have him join our program.”

Welch played collegiate basketball at UNLV and was part of a squad that finished 33-5 under Tarkanian.

He is the father of former Kentucky walk-on and graduate assistant Riley Welch.