On Tuesday, the University of Florida announced the hire of two new assistant coaches, with former Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and former St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts joining Billy Donovan’s staff.
Pelphrey rejoins the Florida staff after a nine-year absence from the Gators.
“Having John back will be a great addition to our program,” Donovan said in a press release. “Obviously, he has a level of familiarity with me and with the University of Florida (that) makes this a great fit. John’s a great coach, he’s a great friend and has a love for Florida, and we’re excited to bring him back.”
After spending time on Billy Donovan’s staff as an assistant coach at Florida from 1996 to 2002 and helping lead the Gators to their first national championship appearance, he left for the head coaching job at South Alabama.
While coaching there, he put together an 80-67 record and led the Jaguars to an NCAA Tournament appearance against the Gators in 2006, when Florida captured its first national title.
After his successful stint at South Alabama, Pelphrey took the head coaching job at Arkansas, where he worked for four years before he was fired on March 13. His teams went 69-59 during his tenure there, posting a 25-39 record in SEC play.
Pelphrey was 1-4 against the Donovan-led Gators while coaching at Arkansas.
Roberts takes the job at Florida after spending a year away from coaching following a six-year head coaching stint at St. John’s.
While at St. John’s, Roberts led his team to an 81-101 record as a head coach.
Prior to taking the head coaching job at St. John’s, Roberts spent eight years coaching as an assistant under Kansas coach Bill Self at four different schools.
That acumen and his connections to the Northeast helped make the hire an easy one for Donovan.
“Being from New York, I’ve known Norm for a long time,” Donovan said. “He’s an outstanding coach, he’s a great recruiter, has high character and integrity, and I’m thrilled to have him on our staff here at Florida.”
The pair take over after Florida lost associate head coach Larry Shyatt to Wyoming on March 31, when Shyatt opted to return to Wyoming for his second head-coaching stint there.
In addition to Shyatt’s departure, Rob Lanier and Richard Pitino have left the program for other positions.
Lanier has accepted a position with the Texas Longhorns. Meanwhile, Richard Pitino has rejoined his father at Louisville as the associate head coach.
Lanier has been an assistant at Florida since May 2007 and previously coached as an assistant at Texas from 1999 to 2001.
Known for his recruiting ability, Lanier helped Florida land a couple prospects in his four-year stint with the Gators.
He recruited South Florida well, having played an instrumental role in the recruitment of current Gators shooting guard Kenny Boynton and former Florida center Eloy Vargas.
He also helped recruit redshirt freshman Cody Larson, who is suspended from the team following his arrest this weekend.
The Texas assistant coaching position came open for Lanier when Rodney Terry accepted the head coaching position at Fresno State on Thursday.
Pitino has been an assistant at Florida for the past two years, arriving after a three-year stint as an assistant under his father Rick Pitino in Louisville from 2007 to 2009.
The Louisville assistant coaching position opened back up when Manhattan hired Louisville assistant Steve Masiello as its new head coach on Monday.
Florida will hold a press conference with Billy Donovan at 4 p.m. to announce and discuss the new hires. GatorCountry.com will have more on the coaching hires at that time.