USC Upstate to Honor Former Men’s Basketball Coach Eddie Payne

January 16, 2018 at 11:29 am

Coach Eddie Payne on the sidelines.

The University of South Carolina Upstate athletics department will honor former head men’s basketball coach Eddie Payne on Saturday, Jan. 20 when the Spartans host North Florida at the G.B. Hodge Center. Tip off is slated for 2 p.m.

The Eddie Payne Appreciation Game will celebrate the legendary coach’s 15 seasons leading the Spartans. Payne will be recognized throughout the game with video tributes from various individuals he has impacted throughout his coaching career and will culminate with a special presentation on the court during halftime.

Upon retirement, Payne was the only current NCAA Division I head coach to have coached at all five levels of college basketball. He was instrumental in developing players who have gone on to play professionally with 13 of those players signing contracts overseas.

Two standouts during his time at USC Upstate are Torrey Craig and Ty Greene.  Craig spent several seasons in Australia before signing a two-way contract in 2017 with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. He became the second USC Upstate men’s basketball player in school history, joining Mike Gibson, to play in an NBA game. Greene was also a third-round draft pick of the Delaware 87ers in the 2015 NBA G-League Draft.

During his time at USC Upstate, Payne’s teams made steady progress after transitioning to Division I in 2007, resulting in four wins over schools from Power 5 conferences, three appearances in the ASUN Tournament semifinals, the school’s first-ever trip to the ASUN Tournament final and four Postseason Tournament berths. He also produced two ASUN Freshman of the Year and two ASUN Player of the Year award winners.

Before joining USC Upstate, Payne served as head coach at Greensboro College, Oregon State, East Carolina, Belmont Abbey and Truett-McConnell. Payne was an assistant coach at three Division I programs in Clemson, East Carolina and South Carolina.

A 1973 graduate of Wake Forest University, Payne was a member of the men’s basketball team from 1970-73. He received the school’s prestigious Arnold Palmer Award as the Outstanding Student-Athlete and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior.

After playing professionally in France, Payne earned his master’s degree from Clemson while serving as an assistant coach.

Payne graduated from East Mecklenburg High School. He and his wife, Ann, have a son, Luke, who played basketball at USC Upstate and is a 2015 inductee into the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame.

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