Arkansas hired South Alabama's John Pelphrey as its new
basketball coach Monday, a South Alabama athletic department
official told The Associated Press.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity pending
Arkansas' announcement at an afternoon news conference.
The Razorbacks have been without a coach since Stan Heath was
fired March 26. They hired Dana Altman last Monday, but Altman
changed his mind and returned to Creighton the next day.
Athletic directors Frank Broyles of Arkansas and Joe Gottfried
of South Alabama did not immediately return calls from the AP.
The hiring was first reported Sunday by FoxSports.com and CBS
Sportsline.com, citing unidentified sources.
Altman's startling reversal led Arkansas to enlist a search firm
to help find a coach. Arkansas eyed Billy Gillispie, who later left
Texas A&M to take over at Kentucky. The Razorbacks also received
permission to talk to Memphis coach John Calipari.
The Razorbacks went 21-14 last season and made the NCAA
tournament for the second straight year, but they lost in the first
round both seasons. Heath was fired and took the South Florida job.
Pelphrey went 80-67 in five seasons at South Alabama, including
44-19 the last two seasons. The Jaguars made the NCAA tournament in
The 38-year-old Pelphrey has plenty of Southeastern Conference
experience. He was an assistant at Florida from 1996-02 and played
His college playing career ended on one of the most memorable
shots in NCAA tournament history. Pelphrey was standing a few feet
from Christian Laettner when the Duke star made his famous
buzzer-beater against Kentucky in the 1992 round of eight.
After that, Pelphrey became an assistant at Oklahoma State and
Marshall before heading to Florida.