For the second consecutive Monday, the University of Arkansas will be announcing a new head basketball coach.
South Alabama head coach John Pelphrey, who has played or worked under Rick Pitino, Eddie Sutton and Billy Donovan and was 44-19 in his last two seasons, will meet with the Razorbacks at 2 p.m. and then be officially announced as the program's new head coach at 3 p.m.
Donovan, who just coached Florida to its second national championship, had the 6-foot-7 Pelphrey for five years as an assistant and is obviously very high on the former Kentucky player who was beloved enough to have his jersey retired.
"John Pelphrey is a phenomenal coach, and I think people realize and respect that, but he's an even better person," Donovan was quoted on the South Alabama website. "He understands about developing student-athletes as people, not just as players. John sets the highest standards in values and integrity and instills these values in the young men he teaches. His work ethic and passion have made him a success at every level of basketball, from a player to an assistant to the transition to a head coach."
Louisiville head coach Rick Pitino, who coached Pelphrey at Kentucky, knew that Arkansas wanted an up-tempo coach and said Saturday that his former player would fit the bill since he is a proponent of that style and constant pressing.
"If they want that style of play, they should go after John Pelphrey of South Alabama," Pitino said. "He presses and runs the whole game and does a great job with it."
Also quoted on the South Alabama website is former Arkansas player and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes.
"South Alabama players play the game of basketball just like their coach John Pelphrey played it when he was in college," Dykes said. "Maximum effort, great intensity and a passion for winning that few can match. He coaches the game like he played it, understanding it is a privilege to compete at the highest level. John Pelphrey is a winner."
Pelphrey will technically succeed Dana Altman – who had the job for 26 hours after being hired last Monday before bolting back to Creighton a day later.
Stan Heath, now the head coach at South Florida, has been the University of Arkansas coach for the past five season and led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments before not being retained.
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