Florida head coach Mike White has hired Al Pinkins as associate head coach, rounding out the Gators’ men’s basketball coaching staff. Pinkins brings 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, including five in the Southeastern Conference, to Gainesville.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring Al to Florida,” White said. “I’ve known Al for many years, and his high-level coaching experience and familiarity with the SEC make him a great addition to our coaching staff. He does great work in all phases of the job, but has a particularly strong track record of developing big men.”
“My family and I are thrilled to become a part of Gator Nation,” Pinkins said. “I’ve been to Gainesville many times as an opposing coach. I look forward to having the Rowdy Reptiles and the rest of the University of Florida’s great fans on my side now. This opportunity for me and my family comes after two wonderful and successful seasons spent in Lubbock at Texas Tech. We will always be grateful to Coach Chris Beard, [Texas Tech athletic director] Kirby Hocutt and our Red Raider family for our time spent there.
“Recently, I had the chance to revisit some discussions I had with Coach White when his staff first had an opening. It became clear that the University of Florida is a special place and a program my family and I want to be a part of. I’m ready to get to work. Go Gators!”
Most recently, Pinkins spent the past two seasons at Texas Tech where he helped the Red Raiders reach the Elite Eight in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, including a second-round win vs. Florida. Over the course of those two seasons, Texas Tech picked up 11 wins vs. ranked opponents.
The Red Raiders collected a pair of victories over Associated Press Top 10 opponents during the 2016-17 season in No. 4 Baylor and No. 7 West Virginia for the first time since 2007-08. Keenan Evans and Zach Smith garnered All-Big 12 Preseason honors in 2017-18, the first pair of Texas Tech teammates to accomplish the feat dating back to 2010-11.
In his only season at LSU, Pinkins worked with Ben Simmons, the NBA’s top overall draft pick in 2016. Simmons was the consensus 2016 National Freshman of the Year and rated among the SEC’s top five in points (19.2), rebounds (11.8), assists (4.8) and steals (2.0) per game.
Pinkins worked with a young and undersized Tennessee front line in 2014-15 as the Vols posted a positive rebounding margin fueled by a second place finish in defensive rebounds and fourth place finish in offensive rebounds.
During his time at Ole Miss, Pinkins coached the program’s all-time leading rebounder in Murphy Holloway and the program’s all-time leading shot blocker in Reginald Buckner. Holloway came away with an All-SEC First-Team selection, while Bucker tucked away SEC All-Defensive Team honors in 2013. The Rebels secured the 2013 SEC Tournament title, a NCAA Tournament berth and matched a program single-season record with 27 victories.
Pinkins joined the Ole Miss staff in 2011 just before White left the Rebels to take the head coach job at Louisiana Tech, with the two overlapping in Oxford very briefly.
Pinkins’ first collegiate coaching opportunity came at Middle Tennessee State from 2003-11. He was involved in all aspects of the Blue Raiders program, highlighted by recruiting throughout the South and the development of MTSU’s post players. The 2010 MTSU team advanced to postseason play in the CollegeInsider.com event.
Pinkins began his playing career as a standout prep performer at Mitchell-Baker High School in Camilla, Georgia. He helped lead his team to consecutive state championships during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. Pinkins also quarterbacked the MBHS football team to the 1990 Georgia state championship.
Pinkins started his collegiate playing career at Chipola Junior College in Florida from 1993-95 where he averaged 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game over his two seasons. He transferred to North Carolina State after his sophomore season. Pinkins secured 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The 1997 NC State squad advanced to the NIT Second Round.
Pinkins played professionally with Team Baleno in Zaragoza, Spain. He posted 22 points and nine rebounds per game in 1998. He also played for the Raleigh (N.C.) Cougars in the United States Basketball League (USBL) in 1998 and for Minot (N.D.) in the International Basketball Association (IBL) where he captured Most Valuable Player honors.
Following his IBA stint, Pinkins played overseas and picked up 29 points and 11 rebounds per game in the Qatar Basketball Association along with an 11-point, 8-rebound averages in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Pinkins earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from NC State in 1998. He and his wife, Kara, have three sons: Patton, Pryce and Penn.