Orlando Antigua

Orlando Radhames Antigua Fernández (born February 20, 1973), nicknamed "Hurricane", is a former Dominican-American basketball player and is currently an assistant coach at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign under Brad Underwood. He is widely known as becoming the first Hispanic[1] and the first non-black player for the Harlem Globetrotters in 52 years[2] when he signed in 1995. He was previously the head coach of South Florida from 2014-2017.

Orlando Antigua
Current position
TitleAssistant coach
ConferenceBig Ten
Biographical details
Born (1973-02-20) February 20, 1973 (age 47)
Dominican Republic
Playing career
1989, 1991–1993Gigantes de Carolina
1995–2002Harlem Globetrotters
1996–1997Gigantes de Carolina
2000Mets de Guaynabo
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2002–2003Mt. Lebanon HS (asst.)
2006–2008Pittsburgh (asst.)
2008–2009Memphis (asst.)
2009–2014Kentucky (asst.)
2013–2015Dominican Republic
2014–2017South Florida
2017–presentIllinois (asst.)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2003–2006Pittsburgh (dir. of ops.)
Head coaching record
Overall23–55 (.295)

Raised in the Bronx, Antigua overcame various obstacles early in his life, among them having to live with a bullet lodged in his head for many years, before he was able to play for the Globetrotters.[3] After his retirement from playing professional basketball he was named an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Memphis Tigers, and most recently, the Kentucky Wildcats. He is also the head coach of the Dominican Republic national basketball team.

Early yearsEdit

Antigua was born in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother. The family moved to New York City and lived in the Bronx where he was raised. There Antigua and his two siblings received their primary and secondary education. He attended St. Raymond's High School, where he played basketball.[3]

On Halloween night in 1988, Antigua became the victim of a drive-by shooting and was shot in the head near his left eye. He recovered from the shooting, however the doctors were unable to retrieve the slug from his head. He was back playing basketball just two months after the incident[3] and gained media attention as the kid who'd taken a bullet to the head in a drive-by in his rough Bronx neighborhood.[1] During this period of his life Antigua's family also went through a period of homelessness. He kept the family together while housing was secured.[3]

He overcame these difficulties and went on to serve as student council president at his high school and played a major role in the program's New York Catholic League Championship run under head coach Gary DeCesare. As a senior, he earned All-New York City and Parade All America Second Team honors. Antigua also played on the Gauchos youth basketball team. He caught the attention of various scouts during his high school playing days and was signed with the University of Pittsburgh.[1]

Pittsburgh PanthersEdit

From 1991 to 1995 Antigua played basketball for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers basketball team. Antigua's performance during his freshman ( BIG EAST All Rookie Team) and sophomore years under coach Paul Evans contributed to an appearance in the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) second round, and an NCAA tournament berth the season after.[1] Antigua was named the recipient of the United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) Most Courageous Award in 1994,[2] an honor presented annually to an individual associated with college basketball who displays exceptional courage both on and off the floor.[3] As a member of the Panthers, Antigua ranks 11th all-time in career 3-pointers made (117) and sixth in career 3-point field goal percentage (.386). He also ranks among the school's career leaders in blocked shots with 78, the 12th best total in Panthers history.[3]

Basketball in Puerto Rico and the Dominican RepublicEdit

Antigua was able to play basketball in the Puerto Rican and Dominican basketball leagues because of his parents' Puerto Rican and Dominican roots. During his college years he would spend summers of 1991 to 1993 playing for the Gigantes de Carolina (Carolina Giants), a team in the El Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN).[1] Antigua averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 1991, 10.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 1992, and 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 1993.[4] During one summer, while Antigua was playing in Puerto Rico, he began to suffer from severe ear pain. He thought he had an infection from being at the beach, but it turned out that the bullet that was lodged in his head had moved down into his ear canal. Surgeons removed the bullet and Antigua has not experienced any pain associated with the injury since.[5]

Antigua continued to play for Carolina in 1996 and 1997 and averaged a career high 16.8 points in 1997. He ended his professional playing career in 2002 with Mets de Guaynabo.[4]

In 1998, Antigua played for the Dominican Republic national team, which came close to representing the country in the Olympics and World championships for the first time in the history of its program. The team, however fell short in the qualifications. Among his teammates were fellow SBL player Franklyn Western, of the Vaqureos de Bayamon (Bayamon Cowboys) and NBA player Felipe López.[1]

Harlem GlobetrottersEdit

In December 1995, Antigua graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in social sciences.[3] He received offers from various NBA teams to attend their camps and also received offers from European scouts, but instead he decided to sign a deal to play for the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters.[1] Antigua, thus became the first Hispanic and the first non-black player on the Globetrotters' roster since Bob Karstens played with the squad in 1942–43.[2] He made his debut as a Globetrotter in Pittsburgh and was nicknamed "Hurricane" because of his dazzling moves and quickness.[3]

During the seven years in which he played with the Globetrotters, he represented the squad in 49 different countries and on tours to South America, South Africa and on the acclaimed "Youth in Our Lives Tour."[3] Antigua met many people such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. He did commercials and showed his skills on the Late Show with David Letterman and in Regis and Kathy Lee. According to Antigua, he rates meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa as his favorite moment. He retired from the Globetrotters in February 2002.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

From 2002–03, Antigua served as an assistant basketball coach at Mt. Lebanon High School under Joey David and worked as a sales representative for Cavanaugh Promotions in the North Hills. In 2003, Antigua returned to University of Pittsburgh men's basketball as the director of operations under head coach Jamie Dixon, and on June 7, 2006, was named an assistant coach.[3]

In 2008, Antigua was hired as an assistant coach for the University of Memphis men's basketball program where he joined head coach John Calipari's staff.[6] He then followed Calipari to the University of Kentucky to take an assistant job there.[7]

On March 31, 2014, Antigua was named the new head coach of the South Florida Bulls. He left Kentucky's staff at the conclusion of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. He was also the head coach of the Dominican Republic national basketball team from 2013 to 2015.[8] On January 3, 2017, USF dismissed Antigua as their head coach.[9][10]

On April 5, 2017, Antigua was added to Brad Underwood's staff at Illinois.[11]

Awards and recognitionsEdit

Among the many awards and recognitions which Antigua has received are the following:[3]

  • 1991–95 Named the United States Basketball Writers' Association Most Courageous Athlete award recipient
  • Named to Big East All-Rookie Team after the 1991–92 season; started in 78 games, averaged 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 116 career games from 1991–95; concluded career as one of Pittsburgh's best all-time three-point shooters (.386- 117–303).
  • Named one of the nation's top-100 most influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business magazine.

Head coaching recordEdit

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
South Florida Bulls (American Athletic Conference) (2014–2017)
2014–15 South Florida 9–23 3–15 11th
2015–16 South Florida 8–25 4–14 T–9th
2016–17 South Florida 6–7 0–2 (fired)
South Florida: 23–55 (.295) 7–30 (.189)
Total: 23–55 (.295)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Paese, Gabrielle (2007). "Antigua Breaks Ground For Latinos In NCAA Basketball". Puerto Rico Herald. 7 (30). Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Sports People: Basketball — A Non-Black Player Joins Globetrotters". New York Times. December 28, 1995. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Orlando Antigua Profile". University of Pittsburgh. 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Orlando Antigua Fernandez". WorldHoopStats.com. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Fittipaldo, Ray (December 5, 2006). "Pitt assistant Orlando Antigua knows pain of Duquesne gunshot victim". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  6. ^ "Orlando Antigua Named Tiger Basketball Assistant Coach". Memphis Tigers Men's Basketball. June 10, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  7. ^ "Antigua, Robic, Strickland Named Basketball Assistants". University of Kentucky. May 19, 2009. Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  8. ^ "Orlando Antigua". University of South Florida. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Jeff Goodman [@GoodmanESPN] (3 January 2017). "South Florida has fired Orlando Antigua. Hasn't had success on the court, and there was academic investigation ongoing" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ http://www.gousfbulls.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=7700&ATCLID=211389214
  11. ^ http://fightingillini.com/news/2017/4/5/mens-basketball-underwood-announces-staff-additions.aspx