Former D1 head coach takes over at JUCO Denmark Tech (SC)

Denmark Technical College welcomes Andre Payne as head men’s basketball coach and Upward Bound coordinator

Former Mississippi State Valley University coach, Andre Payne, has been selected as the next head men’s basketball coach at Denmark Technical College. Coach Payne has a long history of successful coaching at the collegiate level, beginning in 1999 when he became the assistant men’s basketball coach at Texas College. In 2001, he was named head coach and achieved an 82-76 record during his five-year tenure.

In July 2006, Coach Payne was named director of athletics and head men’s basketball coach at Wiley College. Under his leadership, the program reestablished a winning tradition and high academic standards with an overall record of 146-104 and the successful graduation of 82% of his players. Payne led the Wildcats to the NAIA Tournament during his first campaign in 2006-2007, ending their 34-year tournament drought. Later, Payne guided his teams to three 20-win seasons and two Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Championships. Payne was listed among the NAIA’s Top 25 active wins leaders at the end of his coaching career at Wiley College.  

In July 2014, Coach Payne was selected to be the tenth head men’s basketball coach at Mississippi Valley State University. At MVSU, he coached two all-SWAC performers, made four trips to the SWAC Tournament, including a semifinals appearance in 2016, and was named Mississippi Valley State University Coach of the Year 2018. In five years as the head coach for MVSU, Coach Payne raised over three million dollars in guarantee funds for the athletic department.  

In 2019, for the first time in 20 years of coaching, Coach Payne was given the opportunity to coach women’s collegiate basketball, being named the first assistant at Alcorn State University. He helped the team improve from four wins in the 2018-2019 season to fourteen wins in the 2019-2020 season. The Lady Braves were considered one of the best defensive teams in NCAA Division, finishing number one in four defensive categories.  

While not on the court, Coach Payne will be focusing his efforts in supporting the college’s Upward Bound Program, a year-round initiative to encourage local middle and high school students to pursue higher education culminating, during non-COVID time, with a six-week on campus summer experience. Additionally, he will serve as an advisor and tutor to our men and women athletes. 

“We are very excited to have someone of Coach Payne’s caliber to take our men’s basketball program to the next level. His proven track record and triumphant spirit are the winning combination necessary to keep Denmark Tech athletics forging onward.  His degree in mechanical engineering coupled with his having coached Division I, Division II, and NAIA, will truly prove beneficial as he works to support our student-athletes on the court and in the classroom,” said Denmark Technical College President Dr. Willie L. Todd, Jr.  

With a 20-year performance history of motivating and inspiring students both academically and athletically, Coach Payne and Denmark Technical College are sure to be a force to be reckoned with. 

“I’m very thankful to Dr. Todd and Ms. Gathers, vice president for student services and athletics director, for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to this next stage of my career. Denmark Tech has the potential to be one of the best junior college basketball teams in the country,” said Payne.  

Payne attended college at Alabama A&M University, where he graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering. He earned his master’s degree from New Mexico Highland University in human performance and sports.

A native of Auburn, AL, Coach Payne has been married to Mrs. Nikki Payne for 17 years. They have two sons, Andre, who is 17, and Nicholas, who is 13 years old. 

Story Courtesy Denmark Tech

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