Northern Arizona University men’s basketball head coach Jack Murphy announced on Thursday that assistant coach Wes Pifer has been promoted to associate head coach for the Lumberjacks.
“I am excited to announce that Wes Pifer is being named associate head coach,” Murphy said. “Wes is a diligent worker, has outstanding relationships with our current student-athletes and has shown a great ability to recruit the state of Arizona, the west coast and junior colleges. He adds so much not only to our basketball program, but to our athletic department as a whole. I couldn’t be more proud to continue to have Wes by my side in the role of associate head coach.”
Pifer has worked directly with NAU’s guards since his arrival in Flagstaff in 2013 and has helped develop multiple players at that position who have earned All-Big Sky honors, including 2016 All-Big Sky First Team choice Kris Yanku, who finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in made free throws.
In addition, another of Pifer’s pupils, Quinton Upshur was honored as the 2014 Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and a first-team All-Big Sky choice. Upshur totaled 549 points during the 2014-15 campaign, which is the fifth-highest single-season total in NAU annals.
Since Pifer’s arrival in 2013, a total of 17 guards ranked among the top five scorers on the squad over his initial five seasons (out of 25 total players), including a total of four in his initial season in 2013-14 when NAU finished tied for second overall in the Big Sky Conference with a league mark of 12-8.
In 2017-18, guards Torry Johnson (11.5 ppg), JoJo Anderson (11.1 ppg) and Karl Harris (8.2 ppg) ranked as the ‘Jacks top-three point producers.
During the 2014-15 season, Pifer was an integral part in the Lumberjacks securing a program-record 23 wins and a run to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.
Prior to NAU, Pifer spent two seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina Central (2011-13), two seasons at St. Andrews University (2009-11) and one season at Miami-Dade College (2008-09).
Pifer played collegiately at Methodist University (2000-02) and Penn State-Altoona (2002-04). He also played professionally overseas for BBG Hartford in the Germany 2 Regionalliga.