Report: Pelphrey to return as Gators assistant

By Adam Silverstein
April 12, 2011

UPDATED STORY: Donovan adds Pelphrey, Roberts to Gators staff

Former Arkansas Razorbacks head coach John Pelphrey will rejoin the Florida Gators basketball team as an assistant coach, a source told Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports Tuesday. An assistant at Florida for six seasons (1996-2002), Pelphrey will be reunited with Gators head coach Billy Donovan, his close friend and mentor.

Pelphrey played under Donovan (an assistant at the time) and head coach Rick Pitino with the Kentucky Wildcats and served as an assistant on Donovan’s first coaching staff for two seasons with the Marshall Thundering Herd (1994-96). He joined Donovan when he was hired by the University of Florida, helping lead the Gators to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Pelphrey left UF in 2002 for a head coaching gig with the South Alabama Jaguars, where he led the team for five seasons. He won the Sun Belt Championship, was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year and brought his squad to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. USA would end up falling to Florida in the first round.

Noticing his success at a smaller school, Arkansas hired him to lead their program in 2007. Pelphrey brought the Razorbacks their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1999 in his first season but failed to replicate his success over the following three. He was fired by Arkansas on March 13 even though he had a top-tier recruiting class on its way in.

Donovan is in the middle of reshaping his coaching staff after losing long-time assistant Larry Shyatt to a head coaching job with Wyoming. He may also see Rob Lanier head out the door to be an assistant at Texas, and Richard Pitino could join his father at Louisville, which suddenly has an opening.

OGGOA learned on April 3 that Florida Atlantic assistant Matt McCall is a top candidate to fill a role on Donovan’s revamped coaching staff.

Photo Credit: Carrie Pratt/St. Petersburg Times


  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Welcome back John!

  2. Basshole says:

    If this report is true, this is a great re-hire, although I can’t see it last too long before John gets another offer. Also, it looks like Donovan and Pelphrey are slow dancing in that picture.

  3. Daniel M. says:

    Dancing With the ….Coach?

    The Donovan coaching tree isn’t as impressive as the Urban Tree, but it’s still impressive nonetheless.

  4. GatorTerd says:

    Awesome hire! Maybe we can get that Ostrum guy too! WOoohooo!

  5. Zooker says:

    Looks like they are making love faces, but I do understand why those guys share a difficult family matter that’s very near and dear to the heart that doesn’t involves the game of basketball.

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