FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Rob Evans, a former Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, has joined head coach John Pelphrey’s staff at Arkansas as an assistant coach.
The former head coach at Ole Miss and Arizona State joins assistant coach Tom Ostrom and director of basketball operations Matt Figger on Pelphrey’s staff.
Evans was the head coach at Ole Miss from 1993-98 and at Arizona State from 1999-2006. He rebuilt both programs, leading Ole Miss to consecutive SEC Western Division titles and NCAA Tournament bids, and guiding Arizona State to post-season tournament appearances in three of his last five years.
The Hobbs, N.M., native was a collegiate assistant for 24 years before taking over the Ole Miss program. He was an assistant to Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State in 1991 and 1992 after spending 15 years as an assistant at Texas Tech (1976-90) and seven under Lou Henson at New Mexico State (1969-75), his alma mater.
Evans has 38 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 14 years as a head coach. Six of his 14 teams as head coach earned post-season tournament bids with 16 of his teams overall advancing to post-season play.
He helped the Aggies earn four NCAA Tournament bids in seven years with a trip to the Final Four in 1970. While an assistant at NMSU, he also coached the freshman teams to a combined record of 90-15. Eight of his teams at Texas Tech won 17 or more games with three Southwest Conference Tournament titles and three NCAA Tournament bids. In his two seasons at OSU, the Cowboys reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 each year.
At Ole Miss, he took over a program with just one winning season in the previous nine seasons and only one NCAA Tournament bid in its history. After a 10-18 mark his first year, the Rebels were 14-13 in 1994 for their first winning season in seven years. Ole Miss was 8-19 and 12-15 the next two years, but went 20-9 in 1997 and 22-7 in 1998, winning Western Division titles each year and back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids for the first time. The consecutive 20-win seasons were the first for Ole Miss since 1937 and ’38.
Evans was named SEC Coach of the Year and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year in 1997. In 1998, the Rebels beat Kentucky in Lexington for the first time since 1927.
At Arizona State, his first club went 14-16 in 1999, but the 19-13 finish in 2000, which included reaching the second round of the NIT, was just the fourth 19-win season for the Sun Devils in 19 years. Following a 13-16 finish in 2001, ASU went 14-15 in 2002 with injuries to three players. Despite the setbacks, Evans’ team beat four NCAA Tournament teams, won at UCLA for the first time since 1987 and earned a spot in the NIT.
In 2003, the Sun Devils went 20-12 for their first 20-win season since 1995 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an upset win over Memphis. ASU was 10-17 in 2004, 18-14 with a post-season tournament bid (NIT) for the third time in four years in 2005 and 11-17 in 2006.
His last club led the Pac-10 in three-point shooting (.378), allowed only 69.9 points a game for ASU’s best defensive scoring average since 1991 (69.1) and lost four games by four points or less with another loss in overtime.
As a player, he was the first All-American at Lubbock (Texas) Christian College after averaging 19.8 points in 1966. Named team captain, he was also all-conference and all-region.
At New Mexico State, he captained the 1967 Aggies to a 15-11 record and the 1968 squad to a 23-6 mark. NMSU made the NCAA Tournament both years. The 1967 team lost to Elvin Hayes and Houston while the 1968 squad beat Dick Motta and Weber State before losing to eventual national champion UCLA and Lew Alcindor.
A former baseball star as well, he was drafted out of high school by the Colt 45s, which eventually became the Houston Astros. Following college, he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association and with the Oakland Raiders as a receiver.
Evans, who was selected NMSU’s most outstanding athlete in 1967 and has been named to the school’s all-time basketball team, was inducted into the Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1991, he was elected by his peers to be president of the National Association of Assistant Basketball Coaches, was inducted into the Lubbock Christian Hall of Fame in 1990, the Las Cruces, N.M., Hall of Fame in 1989, presented the Texas Tech Outstanding Achievement Award for 1986-87 and selected as NMSU’s School of Education Alumnus of the Year in 1994.
ROB EVANS QUICK FACTS
Born: Sept. 7, 1946
Family: wife Carolyn (Marshall); grown son Damon and daughter Amber; granddaughter Nia.
Named Assistant Coach at Arkansas: April 19, 2007
Years of NCAA Division I Head Coaching Experience: 14 (38 overall)
Head Coaching Record:
119-120 (.498), eight years at Arizona State, 1999-2006
86-81 (.515), six years at Ole Miss, 1993-98
Totals: 205-201 (.505), 14 years overall
Ole Miss –1997 SEC Coach of the Year, CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year
1999-2006 – Arizona State, head coach
1993-98 – Ole Miss, head coach
1991-92 – Oklahoma State, assistant coach
1976-90 – Texas Tech, assistant coach
1969-75 – New Mexico State, assistant coach
Season Records and Post-Season Experience as a Collegiate Coach:
Arizona State (Head Coach)
2005 (18-14) – NIT first round
2003 (20-12) – NCAA Tournament second round
2002 (14-15) – NIT first round
2000 (19-13) – NIT second round
Ole Miss (Head Coach)
1998 (22-7, SEC Western Division champion) – NCAA Tournament first round
1997 (20-9, SEC Western Division champion) – NCAA Tournament first round
Oklahoma State (Assistant Coach)
1992 (28-8) – NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1991 (24-8) – NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Texas Tech (Assistant Coach)
1986 (17-14, SWC Tournament champion) – NCAA Tournament first round
1985 (23-8, SWC regular season and tournament champion) – NCAA Tournament first round
1979 (19-11) – NIT first round
1976 (25-6, SWC Tournament champion) – NCAA Tournament second round
New Mexico State (Assistant Coach)
1975 (20-7) – NCAA Tournament first round
1971 (19-8) – NCAA Tournament first round
1970 (27-3) – NCAA Tournament Final Four
1969 (24-5) – NCAA Tournament second round
Collegiate Player History:
1967-68 – New Mexico State
1965-66 – Lubbock (Texas) Christian College
1968 – New Mexico State (bachelor’s in English)
1966 – Lubbock (Texas) Christian College (AA degree)
1964 – Hobbs (N.M.) High School