- John Pelphrey
John Pelphrey enters the third season of his second stint as a UF assistant coach and ninth year overall with the Gators. He has been on staff for three SEC Championship teams, the team’s past two Elite Eight appearances and the 2000 national championship game appearance. Overall, the team is 179-84 (.681) with Pelphrey on the bench.
Pelphrey returned to the Florida staff after nine seasons as a head coach, five at South Alabama and four at Arkansas. He previously served as an assistant coach with the Gators for six seasons from 1996-2002 and helped the team to a 124-65 record with a then-school record four straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Pelphrey was instrumental in the Gators advancing to their first national championship game in 2000, following a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1999. Since Pelphrey’s return to Gainesville, the Gators are 55-19 (.743) with a pair of Elite Eight appearances. During the 2012-13 season, Pelphrey routinely drew the toughest scouts, and the Gators went 9-4 in those games, including dominant wins in Gainesville vs. Marquette, Missouri and Kentucky.
Following his initial stay at Florida, the Paintsville, Ky., native went on to serve as head coach at South Alabama for five seasons from 2002-2007 and Arkansas for four seasons from 2007-11, earning two trips to the NCAA Tournament. Pelphrey holds a career 149-122 record (.550) as head coach, including an 80-63 mark (.559) at South Alabama and a record of 69-59 (.539) at Arkansas.
In 2005-06, Pelphrey guided the South Alabama Jaguars to a Sun Belt championship and the conference tournament title. That led to a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where South Alabama fell to Florida on the Gators’ way to their first national championship. Pelphrey earned Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors that season as his team led the league in scoring margin and 3-point defense and finished second in steals and scoring defense. South Alabama also improved its offensive output by 11 points over the previous season and finished 24-7.
In his final season at South Alabama, Pelphrey guided the Jaguars to a 20-12 mark (13-5 Sun Belt) and an appearance in the NIT.
In 2007, Pelphrey was tabbed to lead the Arkansas program and responded by leading the team to 23 wins in 2007-08, the best total by a first-year coach in the school’s history. The Razorbacks also went to the SEC Tournament final and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas’ win against No. 24 Indiana in the Big Dance was its first since 1999. That squad finished with a 23-12 record and reached as high as No. 18 in the national polls and posted a 6-2 record against ranked opponents. Those 23 wins were the most at Arkansas since 1999.
During 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.
Prior to Pelphrey’s first stint as a Florida assistant, he spent two seasons on Donovan’s staff at Marshall, 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 went 24-10 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pelphrey began his coaching career following one season playing professionally in France and Spain.
Pelphrey played two years at Kentucky under Sutton and three under Rick Pitino. Part of UK’s class known at 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.