Payne named Special Assistant to the Head Coach at Cleveland State

Photo Courtesy CSU Athletics

Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Daniyal Robinson has announced the addition of Steve Payne to the team’s coaching staff as he joins the Vikings as the special assistant to the head coach, made official on Thursday.

Payne brings over 30 years of collegiate basketball coaching experience to CSU and most recently served as an assistant coach for the University of Missouri-Kansas City men’s basketball program. Prior to his arrival with the Roos, the Russell Springs, Ky. native served as the head men’s basketball coach at Tennessee Tech University from 2011-2019. 

“We are glad to welcome Coach Payne to our Viking men’s basketball program,” Robinson said. “Coach Payne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as he has been a college coach for over 30 years. He will be a great asset to me as a first-time head coach, having served in the position for 10 years himself. Coach Payne is an excellent communicator, a great tactician, brings high energy and builds genuine relationships with coaches and student-athletes. His impact on the program will be felt immediately.” 

Payne arrives at Cleveland State after most recently spending time as a top assistant at Missouri-Kansas City and eight seasons as head coach at Tennessee Tech. Overall, he was at Tech since 2002 and served as an assistant and associate head coach from 2002-11 before he took over the program for the 2011-12 campaign. With the Roos, Payne compiled a record of 118-134 (.468), which included three seasons of 19 victories and two postseason appearances. 

Prior to taking over the Tech head job, Payne was named the 2011 Top Assistant Coach in the Ohio Valley Conference by As an assistant, Payne helped Tech post 149 victories and two of the program’s five 20-win seasons. He was also recognized in July 2009 as one of the Top-25 Mid-Major assistant basketball coaches in the country according to 

Before Tennessee Tech, Payne was the head coach at Frank Phillips Junior College in Borger, Texas for two years from 2000-02. He arrived at Frank Phillips from Georgetown College (Ky.) where he was an associate head coach for four years from 1996-2000. During that time, the Tigers recorded a mark of 128-22 and three Mid-South Conference Championships in four years. Georgetown College also won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championships in 1997-98. The Tigers finished second in the national tournament in 1999-00 and advanced to the national quarterfinals in 1998-99. 

Payne also served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern (La.) State University where he helped lead NSU to its best conference finish in a decade. He was also an assistant coach at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where he was recruiting coordinator and helped lead the team to back-to-back 20-win seasons. Payne was director of player development at Union, and that included the coaching of two NAIA all-Americans. He also coached at Knox Central High School in Barbourville, Ky. 

He is a graduate of Russell County High School in Russell Springs, Ky. and earned his bachelor’s degree from Union College in Barbourville, Ky. in 1990. Payne was a three-year starter and captain for the Bulldogs as a college star and eclipsed 1,000 points at Union as a student-athlete.

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