John Pelphrey
John Pelphrey
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 931-372-3950

Former University of Kentucky All-American and Hall of Famer John Pelphrey was introduced as Tennessee Tech men's basketball's head coach on Friday, Apr. 12, becoming the 13th head coach in the history of the program.

Boasting over 25 years of Division I coaching experience, including nine as a head coach of two programs, Pelphrey most recently served as the associate head coach at the University of Alabama under former head coach Avery Johnson. He spent the past three seasons (2016-19) with the Crimson Tide, assisting the staff in the recruiting and signing of one of the top classes in school history, including eventual NBA Lottery pick Collin Sexton.

The 2017 signing class boasted two players among the top-25 recruits in the country, both five-star recruits as listed by, as well as two four-star players and a three-star, while four of the five signees were ranked among the top-100 players in the nation, according to the site. Combined, the Alabama signing class was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation.

Prior to spending time as an analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network throughout the 2015-16 basketball season, Pelphrey spent four seasons (2011-15) in what was his second stint as an assistant coach under former head coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. In his 10 total years with the Gators, Pelphrey was instrumental in helping the team claim four SEC championships and secure seven total NCAA Tournament bids, including appearances in the 2000 national championship game, the 2014 Final Four, the 2012 and 2013 Elite Eight and a Sweet 16 showing in 1999.

In between his two stops at Florida, the Paintsville, Ky. native earned head coach opportunities at the University of South Alabama for five seasons from 2002-07 and the  University of Arkansas for four seasons from 2007-11. Pelphrey holds a career 149-126 record (.542) as head coach, including an 80-67 (.544) mark at South Alabama and a record of 69-59 (.539) at Arkansas.

In 2007, Pelphrey was selected to lead the Arkansas program and responded by guiding the team to 23 wins in 2007-08, the best total by a first-year coach in the school's history. They went on to an appearance in the SEC Tournament final, reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That 2007-08 Razorbacks finished with a 23-12 record, including an impressive 6-2 mark against ranked opponents. The 23 wins were the most at Arkansas since 1999.

Throughout his stint as the Razorbacks' head coach, Pelphrey coached four All-SEC performers (Sonny Weems, Michael Washington, Courtney Fortson, Rotnei Clarke) and two SEC All-Freshman honorees (Fortson, Marshawn Powell). He was also instrumental in recruiting eventual All-SEC performer B.J. Young.

During his five seasons as the head coach of South Alabama, Pelphrey led the Jaguars to a Sun Belt regular season championship and a conference tournament title. That 2005-06 USA squad earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament after leading the Sun Belt Conference in scoring margin and 3-point defense. Earning Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors, Pelphrey guided South Alabama to a 24-7 mark, with the team improving its offensive output by 11 points over the previous season.

In his final season at USA, Pelphrey took the Jaguars to an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) following a 20-12 record, including a 13-5 mark in Sun Belt play.

Prior to Pelphrey's first stop in Gainesville as a Florida assistant, he spent two seasons on Donovan's staff at Marshall University, where the Thundering Herd went 18-9 in 1995 and 17-11 in 1996 after going 9-18 the year before they arrived. Prior to that, Pelphrey spent a season as an assistant coach under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State in 1994, where the Cowboys achieved a 24-10 record and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Throughout his time in the SEC, Pelphrey coached 14 players that were drafted in the NBA including World Champions: Udonis Haslem (3x), Mike Miller (2x), Matt Bonner (2x), Jason Williams and David Lee, who was also a 2-time NBA All-Star.

Pelphrey began his coaching career following one season playing professionally in France and Spain.

He played two years at Kentucky under Sutton and three under Rick Pitino. Part of UK's class known as "The Unforgettables," he was inducted into the Kentucky Hall of Fame in 2005 and named the Wildcats' Student-Athlete of the Year in 1989. His jersey number (No. 34) was retired in 1992. During his Kentucky career, he started 90 of 114 games and finished with a career scoring average of 11.0 points.

Named Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky as a senior at Paintsville High School in 1987, he scored 2,477 points and grabbed 1,316 rebounds in his career.

Pelphrey is married to the former Tracy Lyon and they have a son, Jaxson, and a daughter, Grace.

Age: 50 (born July 18, 1968)
Wife: Tracy
Children: Jaxson, Grace
Education: University of Kentucky – B.A., Marketing (1992)
Coaching Experience:    1993-94 » Oklahoma State (Assistant Coach)
  1994-96 » Marshall (Assistant Coach)
  1996-2002 » Florida (Assistant Coach)
  2002-07 » South Alabama (Head Coach)
  2007-11 » Arkansas (Head Coach)
  2011-15 » Florida (Associate Head Coach)
  2016-19 » Alabama (Associate Head Coach)
  2019-Present » Tennessee Tech (Head Coach)



"John Pelphrey is a fabulous hire by Mark Wilson and Tennessee Tech. John has had great success as a head coach, as well as an assistant. He played right up the road in Lexington and will automatically bring credibility to Tennessee Tech. He will be able to get every door opened in recruiting throughout the southeast. As good a coach as John is, he and Tracy are even better people."

- Greg Byrne, Director of Athletics, University of Alabama

"What a great hire for Tennessee Tech. John Pelphrey is an absolute wonderful human being, first and foremost. He will be an instant hit in the community. As a coach, John is tenacious and has all the tools and abilities to establish a winning tradition at Tech. Golden Eagle fans have a great reason to be excited."

- John Calipari, Head Coach, University of Kentucky

"I think Tennessee Tech hired an outstanding coach and an outstanding person. John Pelphrey had a huge role in building the basketball program here at Florida under Billy Donovan. He has obviously been a head coach and done extremely well. He is just what I would call a big time person and coach. I'm very excited for him and certainly know that Tennessee Tech will be pleased with the job John does."

- Jeremy Foley, former Director of Athletics, University of Florida

"John Pelphrey was a great addition to our program. I knew when we hired him we were going through a building program. In his first three seasons, he went 36-48, but never veered from his game plan. The next two seasons we were 24-7 and 20-12 with a regular season Sun Belt Conference Championships and a Sun Belt Tournament Championship. He and his wife Tracy were excellent in the community. John Pelphrey and his staff will impact the basketball community."

- Joe Gottfried, former Director of Athletics, University of South Alabama

"John, Tracy and their family will be fantastic additions to the Tennessee Tech campus and the Cookeville community. John is an experienced coach who knows how to run a program the right way. His relationships with players and staff members make him stand out among the crowd. He has worked with a variety of coaches and has been exposed to many different coaching styles and philosophies. There's no doubt in my mind that when he puts his stamp on the program it will produce championship results."

- Tom Hart, ESPN

"John and his family will be a great asset for the Tennessee Tech family. He has a tremendous amount of experience that is going to be very valuable with all of the players, parents, staff, alumni, student body, fans, donors and the community. He will work hard building character and competitive spirit in the team."

- Avery Johnson, former Head Coach, University of Alabama

"Coach Pelphrey is like family to me. He recruited me at Florida and was like a father figure to me. He was a crucial part of my development as a player and a person. Without his help I wouldn't have had the career I did. The school, the fans and the players are all lucky to have a person like Coach Pelphrey be a part of their new family."

- Mike Miller, Assistant Coach, University of Memphis

"John is an awesome hire for Tennessee Tech. He has a great mind for the game and is a tireless recruiter. He is one of my all-time favorites."

- Rick Pitino, former Head Coach, University of Kentucky / University of Louisville

"When I coached John, he was a great competitor who thought the game extremely well. I always knew he would make a great coach someday."

- Bill Runyon, former Head Coach, Painstville High School