Pelphrey to coach South Alabama

March 22, 2002 at 5:58 PM
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MOBILE, Ala., March 22 (UPI) -- John Pelphrey, the top assistant to Billy Donovan at Florida for the last six years, was named Friday as the new coach at South Alabama.

Pelphrey had a major role in recruiting and player development for the Gators, who have made a school-record four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a loss to Michigan State in the 2000 championship game.

"Needless to say, we are extremely thrilled and excited to have John Pelphrey leading our basketball program," South Alabama athletics director Joe Gottfried said. "John has had the opportunity to associate with coaches like C.M. Newton, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan and comes to South Alabama with a wealth of knowledge."

The 33-year-old Pelphrey played at Kentucky from 1989-92 where Donovan served as an assistant under Pitino. After playing professionally in Europe, Pelphrey became an assistant coach under Sutton at Oklahoma State in 1992-93. He served under Donovan at Marshall from 1994-96 before following his mentor to Florida.

"Obviously I'm very saddened and excited for John," Donovan said. "We've been together for a total of 11 years and he has been a loyal, hardworking and outstanding coach. But more importantly, he has been a great friend."

On Tuesday, Bob Weltlich resigned after enduring the worst season in South Alabama history. The Jaguars finished 7-21 in 2001-02 after winning back-to-back Sun Belt Conference titles and were placed on two years' probation in December after two assistants violated NCAA rules. He compiled an 81-65 record in five seasons and reached a termination compensation since the resignation was mutually agreed upon.

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