Pelphrey takes over in Mobile

Updated: March 25, 2002, 10:33 AM ET
Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. -- John Pelphrey left Florida coach Billy Donovan's staff Friday to become head basketball coach at the University of South Alabama.

Pelphrey replaces Bob Weltlich, who accepted a contract buyout after a 7-21 season.

"We feel like we've got one of the top candidates in the country for this position," South Alabama athletic director Joe Gottfried said.

Pelphrey, 33, who played at Kentucky under Rick Pitino and Eddie Sutton, spent six years at Florida as top assistant to Donovan. As a coach, he said he would like to mesh the talents of all three -- Pitino, Sutton and Donovan.

"I want to do some of the things they have done, which is win super championships and have life relationships with the players," he said.

Pelphrey's proposed five-year contract pays an annual base salary of $130,000, plus $35,000 for the radio and television package. Other incentive pay will be linked to attendance at games, academic success of the players and other improvements in the program, Gottfried said.

Pelphrey said he knew little about the Jaguars before taking the offer, but said he hopes to build a team with players of "great character who have a hunger to achieve and display great heart and tenacity on the floor."

Pelphrey said he felt like he had left the No. 1 assistant's job in the country in Florida. He said he accepted South Alabama's offer because Gottfried impressed him.

"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity," he said.

Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press