Former UK star, Mr. Basketball Pelphrey takes over at Tenn. Tech


By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

Former Kentucky standout and Mr. Basketball John Pelphrey will be leading his own program again.

Pelphrey was named head coach at Tennessee Tech Saturday, replacing Steve Payne, who resigned following an 8-23 season. Pelphrey spent the previous three seasons as an associate head coach under Avery Johnson at the University of Alabama.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be at Tennessee Tech,” Pelphrey expressed. “My family and I, and our staff were looking for a place where we could go and learn, lead and take on challenges in college basketball. We’re very appreciative of Mark Wilson and his pursuit of us. We have complete confidence and trust in him. We love the alignment between him and President (Phil) Oldham and their vision for basketball at Tennessee Tech moving into the future, and we are very, very excited to be a part of that.

“We understand that there’s a lot of work to do, but we’re going to embrace that. We’re looking forward to developing relationships with the team, everyone at Tennessee Tech and the community of Cookeville.”

Pelphrey was head coach at Arkansas from 2007-2011 and spent five years at South Alabama. He also served two stints as an assistant coach at the University of Florida under Billy Donovan. 

He was part of UK’s class known as “The Unforgettables” and 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 points per game.

He was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball following a stellar career at Paintsville High School, where he scored 2,477 points and grabbed 1,316 rebounds in his career.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21