LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones filled one of two vacancies on his coaching staff Wednesday with the hiring of Robert Kirby as associate head coach.
Kirby replaces David Patrick, who was a member of Jones’ coaching staff for four seasons before stepping down April 1 to join the staff of new TCU coach Jamie Dixon.
Kirby will be serving his second stint at LSU with Jones. He was a part of Jones’ first staff in 2012-13 and stayed with the Tigers for one season before leaving for the University of Memphis.
Kirby worked the last three years as assistant head coach at Memphis under Josh Pastner, who accepted the Georgia Tech job shortly after the end of the season.
With 31 years of Division I coaching experience at seven schools, Kirby has been recognized as one of the nation’s top recruiters by Rivals.com and as one of the country’s best assistant coaches by HoopScoop.
During his only season at LSU, Kirby helped bring in a consensus top-10 recruiting class when the Tigers signed McDonald’s All-American Jarell Martin as well as Jordan Mickey and Tim Quarterman.
That trio helped the Tigers secure their first NCAA tournament berth in six years in 2014-15, with Martin and Mickey staying two seasons before both were selected in the NBA draft last June.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Kirby back as a part of our program,” Jones said in a news release. “He was a tremendous asset to our staff. He helped us sign a top-rated class and part of that group wound up playing a major role on the NCAA tournament team in 2015.”
In addition to LSU and Memphis, Kirby’s previous Division I coaching stops were at UALR (1985-88), Southeastern Louisiana (1988-89), Mississippi State (1989-93, 1998-2010), Houston (1993-98) and Georgetown (2010-12).
In his 31 seasons, Kirby has been an assistant coach for teams that have advanced to a postseason tournament 18 times with 11 NCAA tournament berths and seven appearances in the NIT.
Jones must still find a replacement for Ronald Dupree, who was director of student-athlete development last season after serving the previous year as a student assistant while completing work on an engineering degree.
Dupree, a former LSU player who spent part of six seasons in the NBA, accepted a job at Nevada under former LSU assistant coach Eric Musselman on April 8. Musselman was a member of Jones’ staff when Dupree was a student assistant.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.