Men’s basketball coach hired

John Pelphrey

After the end of a national search, Athletic Director Mark Wilson announced April 6 that John Pelphrey is the 13thhead coach in Tennessee Tech men’s basketball history. 


Pelphrey succeeds longtime coach Steve Payne after a disappointing 8-23 season. Payne coached the Golden Eagles since 2011 with a record of 118-134 and two postseason appearances.


Before coming to Tech, Pelphrey was the assistant coach at the University of Alabama under coach Avery Johnson. He helped recruit and sign NBA draft lottery pick Collin Sexton. 


“When you want to learn, lead and take on challenges in college basketball, there is a piece of wanting to build and build it the right way and win championships, but more importantly, to build a team, build a program and build relationships,” Pelphrey said.


He said he was looking for a home for his family and a community to be apart of where he could “be involved, learn, lead and take on challenges.” 


Pelphrey coached five years at South Alabama University, where he won Sun Belt coach of the year, and four at the University of Arkansas. He also served under former NBA coach Billy Donovan at Marshall University for two years and followed him to the University of Florida.


He played college basketball at the University of Kentucky from 1988 to 1992 where he led his team to the Southeastern Conference Championship and a NCAA Tournament appearance in his final season. 


Pelphrey earned team captain at Kentucky twice and won UK Student Athlete of the Year in 1989.


He is one of 36 Kentucky players to have their jersey number retired and is in the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame.


“We are excited for the new page we are turning. We are excited for these young men that have shown such incredible promise and have enjoyed watching this year, and I know we have great things in store,” President Phil Oldham said.