Former Kentucky star Pelphrey a college basketball head coach again

Former Paintsville High School and University of Kentucky star John Pelphrey, who went on to head coaching jobs at South Alabama and Arkansas, was hired to take over the program at Tennessee Tech.

The school announced the move on Saturday. Pelphrey replaces Steve Payne, who resigned last month after going 118-134 in eight seasons.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be at Tennessee Tech,” Pelphrey said, according to a statement released by the school. “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 understand there’s a lot of work to do, but we’re going to embrace that.”

He will be introduced at a news conference Friday.

Pelphrey spent the last three years as an assistant at Alabama on the staff of Avery Johnson, who left after the season in what the school described as a mutual parting.

Pelphrey was head coach at South Alabama from 2002-07 and at Arkansas from 2007-11.

He won at least 20 games each of his last two seasons at South Alabama, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. He was fired at Arkansas after going 69-59 with one NCAA berth in four seasons.

Part of Kentucky’s “Unforgettables,” Pelphrey averaged 11.0 points per game for the Cats.

He was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1987. Pelphrey scored 2,477 points and grabbed 1,316 rebounds in his career at Paintsville.

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