Long, Pelphrey waiting to schedule year-end evaluation

FAYETTEVILLE, Ar - Arkansas coach John Pelphrey knows he is awaiting his annual performance review. Beyond that, he seems unsure of details surrounding an impending meeting with vice chancellor for athletics Jeff Long.

Pelphrey said Monday he was uncertain when his meeting with Long would take place. Under the terms of his contract with the school, Pelphrey and the athletic director must meet within 30 days of the season ending or April 30th, whichever comes first.

No meeting has been scheduled, but Long and Pelphrey both said Monday the annual evaluation would be a priority. Long meets with head coaches at the end of each season, so it's not out of the ordinary for he and Pelphrey to be in the process of scheduling a meeting.

"Obviously we've got to get together on our schedules," Pelphrey said. "He's busy. We'll work it out."

Meeting with Long is simply a matter of working out schedules, Pelphrey said. Pelphrey is busy recruiting and Long is tied up with all his day-to-day duties as athletic director.

Arkansas ended its season March 12 with a 73-58 SEC Tournament loss to Florida and finished a disappointing 14-16. After winning 12 of 13 games to start the season, the Razorbacks ended the year 2-13.

Long expressed his support of Pelphrey on Monday. Arkansas struggled during the final half of the season, but Pelphrey has Long's backing, the athletic director said.

"John Pelphrey is our basketball coach," Long said. "He was hired here to build a program. Our program had issues when he was hired. We're just starting to overcome some of those. It will take us some time to build our program and build it the right way."

Pelphrey is 37-28 in two seasons at Arkansas. This year the Razorbacks were 2-13 in conference, their worst finish since going 1-13 in 1970-71.

It was a far cry from a year ago when the Razorbacks won 23 games and advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. Pelphrey was the winningest first-year Arkansas coach and won more games than either Nolan Richardson or Eddie Sutton in their first years.

Much of that success could be attributed to a senior-laden team. Arkansas lost six seniors and a key junior in Patrick Beverley from that squad, leaving the Razorback 0 returning full-time starters.

Arkansas struggled this season after jumping out to a 12-1 start in the non-conference season with victories against two teams then ranked in the Top 10. From there the Razorbacks lost 13 of 15.

Also troubling were the number of off-court issues the basketball team dealt with. Pelphrey had to suspend two players multiple times and he dismissed another player at the end of the first semester.

All of that is open for discussion when the two get together. Asked what he thought the meeting would entail, Pelphrey was vague.

"I'm sure we'll talk about ways to make the Arkansas basketball program the best it can be," Pelphrey said.

Long didn't expound either. Asked if there were specific areas of concern, Long said that everything was open for discussion and evaluation.

"We'll talk about every phase of the program," Long said.

Additional details of the yearly review are spelled out in Pelphrey's contract. Once Pelphrey and Long meet, Long and Chancellor David Gearhart will discuss the evaluation.

"He's our basketball coach," Long said. "I expect him to be here and help build our program."


Pelphrey does not anticipate making any changes to his coaching staff.

Provided no staff members move on to other jobs, Pelphrey said he planned to keep his current roster of coaches intact.

"Not from my side of it," Pelphrey said. "But I don't know if those guys might have the chance to move up the ladder."

Long's policy has been to allow head coaches to make their own staff decisions. That is not expected to change.

(Source: arkansassports360.com)