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John Pelphrey Biography


It must have been an unwelcome sight for a number of University of Kentucky fans when one of their own was named as the new head coach of one of their biggest rivals. But that is exactly what happened when the University of Arkansas named one of the former star players at the University of Kentucky as its newest head coach prior to the 2007-2008 season. Indeed, John Pelphrey saw his fair share of the Razorbacks while donning Kentucky blue from 1988-1992, and now he will witness the rivalry from the other side.


Arkansas basketball coach john pelphrey upset
Thanks to Dennis Adair at flikr.com for this picture of Coach John Pelphrey
telling the ref how it is.



Pelphrey, like many of the current head coaches in the Southeastern Conference, got his start in the coaching ranks by serving as an assistant coach for a number of universities across the country. He got his first opportunity to serve as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, where he served as a member of Eddie Sutton's staff from 1993-1994. Following his stint at Oklahoma State, Pelphrey moved over to Marshall University, where he served as assistant coach from 1994-1996. He then got his first taste of coaching in the Southeastern Conference, where he served as assistant coach at the University of Florida for 6 seasons, from 1996-2002. While at the University of Florida, he eventually grew to be a coveted head coaching prospect, and finally, in 2002, he got his chance.


South Alabama was in need of a coach, and had seen the work Pelphrey had done as an assistant with Florida. So in 2002, South Alabama gave Pelphrey his first head coaching opportunity.


Pelphrey got off to somewhat of a slow start at South Alabama. In fact, he struggled for his first 3 seasons, actually backtracking slightly. Over the first 3 seasons, he compiled records of 14-14, 12-16, and 10-18, in that order. However, South Alabama made the wise decision of waiting for Pelphrey to begin building his teams around his own recruits, and that decision paid off. In his 4th season, Pelphrey led South Alabama to an impressive 24-7 record, and a 12-3 record in Conference play. The team also managed an NCAA Tournament appearance. And in his final season at South Alabama, he managed a 2nd consecutive 20 win season, a 20-12 record overall, and a 2nd consecutive postseason appearance.


Arkansas basketball coach john pelphrey hugs florida coach billy donovan
Thanks to Dennis Adair at flikr.com for this picture of John Pelphrey hugging
Florida coach Billy Donovan after their game.



The Arkansas Razorbacks then gave John Pelphrey his chance to return to the Southeastern Conference coaching ranks, this time as a head basketball coach, prior to the 2007-2008 season. And it did not take long for the razorbacks investment in Pelphrey to pay off, as in his first season as Head coach at Arkansas, Pelphrey led the team to a solid 23-12 record and a 9-7 record in Southeastern Conference play. His team also made the NCAA Tournament, where it won its first round game before losing in the 2nd round.





If you are an Arkansas basketball fan, you should read our current Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball and Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball History page.


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