Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tech signs two for the 2011-12 season

Tennessee Tech's newest head coach, Steve Payne, and the rest of the Golden Eagle men's basketball staff will welcome Lanerryl Esters-Johnson to the Golden Eagle roster as one of two new signees for the 2011-12 basketball season.

A 6'0" guard out of Marietta, Ga., Esters-Johnson played under Joe Goydish at Walton High School, making a name for himself as a combo-guard, averaging 24 points per game during his senior season. He is also known for his work ethic day in and day out, both in and out of season, as well as for being successful in the classroom.

"The first thing you'll notice about Lanerryl is that he has tremendous speed and quickness to his game," Payne said. "He has a great work ethic and desire to be successful."

The staff will also welcome Ryon Riggins, a native of Suwanee, Ga., this upcoming season. Riggins is a power forward standing at 6'9" from North Gwinnett High School, averaging 11 points and 12 rebounds per game. A player under Zach Smith, Riggins is an up-tempo forward who moves up and down the floor well, with an intuition that allows him to find the ball in transition.

In addition to being the biggest player on his high school team his senior season, Riggins was also tagged the most coach-able by Smith. A good listener and a quick learner, Smith says that Riggins displays a willingness to work every day.

"Ryon is a player that has what we call a high ceiling," Payne continued. "He has quick feet and, like most big men, will continue to grow and mature as a player at a different pace."

Tech's newest head coach, Steve Payne, interviews with National Hoops Report

National Hoops Report's Justin Young recently caught up with Tech's newest head coach, Steve Payne, to discuss his promotion from the associate head coach spot to the top dog position. In an interview featured as a "Clipboard Conversation" on the National Hoops Report blog, Coach Payne discussed his thoughts on taking over the Tennessee Tech program and what he expects for the future of his team and the Ohio Valley Conference.

Payne's assumption of the head coaching position was announced in a March 22 press conference that simultaneously announced the retirement of Mike Sutton, who had held the position for nine years prior. Coach Payne came to Tennessee Tech in 2002 as an assistant coach under Sutton, and has now risen to the post of Tech's 12th men's basketball head coach.

To view the full interview, please visit Clipboard Conversations: Steve Payne, new Tennessee Tech head coach

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Steve Payne named Golden Eagle men's basketball head coach

Steve Payne, the associate head coach of the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball program who has served on the staff for the past nine years, was named Wednesday, March 23 as Golden Eagle head coach.

Payne, 42, will take over from Mike Sutton, who announced his retirement from the position. Both announcements came in a joint press conference in the Eblen Center.

Click here to see footage of Coach Payne at Wednesday's press conference.

Head Coach Mike Sutton retires after nine seasons at the Golden Eagle Helm

After nine seasons at the helm and 149 career victories, Mike Sutton has announced his retirement as head men’s basketball coach at Tennessee Tech University.

Sutton announced at a press conference Wednesday morning in Eblen Center that he is stepping down. He will remain at the university as an Instructor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Steve Payne, who has worked as Sutton’s associate head coach all nine years at Tech, was introduced as the new head coach for the Golden Eagles.

Click here to view video footage of Coach Sutton at Wednesday's press conference.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Murphy and Swansey named first- and second- team All-District by the National College Basketball Association

Juniors Kevin Murphy and Zac Swansey have been named first and second-team all-district (district 19) for 2011 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as announced on Wednesday, March 9. The teams are comprised of the nation’s best men’s collegiate basketball student-athletes, selected and voted on by member coaches of the NABC, and represent the finest basketball players across America.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

While we wait, where we stand; Golden Eagles finishing on top

As the Golden Eagle men’s basketball team awaits the start of its post-season tournament endeavors, here’s a recap of how they finished on the season.

With an overall record of 20-12, the Golden Eagles recorded only their fifth 20-game winning season in program history, two of which have fallen under head coach Mike Sutton and his staff. With a final conference record of 12-6, the fourth seeded Golden Eagles capped off their post-season conference play with a trip to the championship round of the OVC tournament, something that they haven’t done since 2003.

En route to the tournament finale, Tech took out the no. 1 seeded Murray State Racers in the semi-final round of the tourney, 64-59, and garnering a win over Murray for the first time since January of 2009. They also defeated UT Martin handily in the quarterfinal round, 83-59.

To read the full article, visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1000 Hoopsters of Tennessee Tech

In honor of celebrating their season notching their 1000th program win, Tennessee Tech basketball salutes all players, coaches and fans who have been a part of 1000 wins at Tech.

Anthony Fisher (left) played at Tech from 2005-2008, scoring a total of 1496 in his college career. Fisher averaged 15.7 points and 3.2 rebounds over the course of his career, finishing his time at Tech shooting .423 from the floor and .328 from behind the arc. He was named all-OVC in 2007 and 2008 and earned the Golden Eagle team MVP award each year of his career.

Amadi McKenzie (below) was also a member of the Golden Eagle team from 2005-2008, scoring 1169 points in his career, averaging 12.6 ppg and 7.2 rpg. He logged a career accuracy of .591 from the floor and had 672 total rebounds on his career. McKenzie was also named All-OVC for the 2007 and 2008 seasons and was awarded multiple team awards including the John P. Hendriz Leadership Award in 2007-08, the Top Rebounder award, the Steals Leader award and the Field Goal Percentage award. McKenzie currently plays ball overseas for the Boulazac Basket Dordogne in France, where he notched 297 points and 134 rebounds in the 2010-11 season for an average of 12.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1000 Hoopsters of Tennessee Tech

Tennessee Tech's men's basketball program recently celebrated it's 1,000th program win with their triple overtime, 109-105 victory over UT Martin on January 13. In honor of 1,000 wins, the present program would like to recognize and remember players, coaches and fans who have been a part of the 1,000-win endeavor.

Today, the Golden Eagles recognize two more "Suttons" who were a part of program history. Jim Sutton played ball for Tech from 1966-68, scoring 409 points and snatching 207 rebounds over the course of his career, averaging eight points per game and finishing with a free-throw percentage of .718.

Ron Sutton was a member of the team from 1968-1970 and also a member of Tech's 1,000-point club, having netted 1041 points and grabbing 689 boards in three seasons for an average of 13.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

(Photo ID: Back left - Ron Sutton; back right - Jim Sutton; front - current TTU head coach Mike Sutton)