Getting to Know Coach John Pelphrey
In wake of the Scott Pospichal leaving the Alabama men's basketball coaching staff to go back to Texas, head coach Avery Johnson had to fill this important position, and he had to fill it quickly. Over the past couple of days, former Florida assistant coach and Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey has been in Tuscaloosa, and it was reported earlier today that Pelphrey has been named as the new associate head coach of the Crimson Tide.
Pelphrey began his career playing at Kentucky, and was a part of the epic battle between the Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils in the 1992 Elite 8 match-up. In his four years in Lexington, Pelphrey averaged just over 11 points per game and played in 114 games. He was a two-time captain for the Wildcats, and is one of only 36 Wildcats to have his number retired.
He began his coaching career at Oklahoma State under the legendary coach Eddie Sutton for one season (1993-1994), before moving on to Marshall as an assistant under then head coach Billy Donovan. This union of coaching minds began a long run between the two at two different schools.
After Pelphrey's first two seasons at Marshall, Donovan was hired as the head coach at the University of Florida, and he brought Pelphrey along with him to Gainesville for six seasons. While there, the two went 114-65 before Pelphrey was hired as the head coach at South Alabama in 2002.
While in Mobile, Pelphrey had a tough first three seasons, going 36-48, but turned the program around during his fourth and fifth seasons, garnering a 44-19 record over those two seasons and getting the Jaguars to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 (eventually losing to Donovan and the eventual national champions Florida Gators in the first round).
From there, Pelphrey took the head coaching job at Arkansas from 2007-2011, but was fired after just five seasons, posting an overall record of 89-69 while getting the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament just in his first season.
Following his stint in Fayetteville, Pelphrey was hired back on to Donovan's staff at Florida in 2011, but was not retained as an assistant in Gainesville when Donovan left to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder and Florida hired Michael White as their new head coach.
Pelphrey has not had a ton of success as a head coach at the collegiate level, but his resume as an assistant is second to none. All in all, this would be a great hire by Avery Johnson and can only mean good things to come for the Crimson Tide basketball program.