Billy Donovan revamps entire coaching staff, adding John Pelphrey and Norm Roberts as assistants
After nine years away from Gainesville, John Pelphrey is returning in a familiar role.
Florida coach Billy Donovan announced Tuesday that Pelphrey has been hired as an assistant on the Gators' staff, a position he held for six seasons from 1996-2002. Donovan has also added former St. John's Norm Roberts is also joining the staff.
“Having John back will be a great addition to our program,” Donovan said. “Obviously, he has a level of familiarity with me and with the
University of Florida 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.”
Pelphrey was fired last month after four seasons as head coach at Arkansas. Roberts was fired last season as the head coach at St. John's. Combined, the two coaches bring 19 years of head coaching experience to Donovan's staff.
“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.”
Donovan is having to replace his entire coaching staff: former assistant Larry Shyatt left to become the head coach at Wyoming; assistant Richard Pitino is returning to Louisville to coach under his father, Rick Pitino, and assistant Rob Lanier is taking a job at Texas to work under Rick Barnes, whom he has worked for in the past.
"The last 48 hours have been kind of crazy,'' Donovan siad. "I think sometimes in coaching you never know about timing and how things are going to happen. About 10 days ago I lost a really, really dear friend and a great coach in Larry Shyatt, who did some terrific things here, taking over the Wyoming job. And then here over the weekend, it's just really interesting, two situations came up for Richard Pitino and Rob Lanier. Richard's got an opportunity right now to go back to Louisville as the associate head coach with an opportunity to possibly be the coach in waiting there. I know that's something that has been discussed with him. I know everybody knows my relationship with Coach Pitino, his father, and the way I feel about him. And I think with Richard having a baby here any week with the opportunity to go back
home and be with his family was something that was very, very important to him. He did a great job and I feel sad that his stay
was only for two years because I've known him since he was four years old and our relationship been close. To get an opportunity to work with him like that meant a lot to me. But I'm also excited for him that he's going to be reunited with his family and be reunited with his dad.''
Donovan said Lanier's ties to Austin were too strong to resist the opportunity to return.
"He and his wife have very strong ties in Austin, Texas.'' Donovan said. "Kind of the same situation and Texas has maybe done this before in football. There's a strong possibility, again, I don't know all the details but he could be a coach in waiting at Texas. They've talked about that. Another thing I think for him was the family dynamic of his wife playing a large factor in his decision. I think as all wives do in this coaching profession, they make incredible sacrifices for their husbands to be able to coach. I think Rob's got very, very strong ties and his
wife does, that's where she served her residency. I think the opportunity to go back to a lot of very, very dear friends and close friends and as I said earlier the opportunity to possibly be the head coach at Texas some day I think was an opportunity Rob really felt like he needed to take.''