Former Oregon State, East Carolina and South Carolina Upstate coach Eddie Payne died Wednesday from complications due to a stroke. He was 69.
Payne suffered the stroke over the weekend and underwent surgery on Sunday night, according to East Carolina.
Payne guided East Carolina to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1993 during a four-season stint (1991-95) and coached Oregon State from 1996-2000. He took over USC Upstate in 2002 and guided that program through its transition to Division I before retiring shortly before the start of the 2017-18 after undergoing his second ankle replacement surgery.
Payne had an overall record of 484-474 as a head coach in 32 seasons at six different stops.
“I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of Coach Payne,” current East Carolina coach Joe Dooley said in a news release. “He was more than a mentor, he was a friend. He taught me a lot about coaching on and off the court and gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion.
“He was a man of great faith and character, and I will always cherish the relationship we had both personally and professionally,” said Dooley, who was an assistant while Payne went 56-58 at East Carolina.
Payne went 50-90 in his stint at Oregon State before being released and was head coach at UNC Greensboro for two seasons before moving over to USC Upstate, which was known as USC Spartanburg for his first two seasons.
We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of former USC Upstate head basketball coach Eddie Payne early this morning.
— USC Upstate Spartans (@UpstateSpartans) July 7, 2021
USC Upstate became a Division I program in 2007-08 — Payne’s sixth season — and dealt with growing pains with four straight 20-loss campaigns. But Payne recorded a 21-13 record in 2011-12 and a 24-12 mark in 2014-15 and finished with a 227-241 record between the Division I and II levels.
One of the school’s top players during Payne’s tenure was Torrey Craig, currently playing in the NBA Finals for the Phoenix Suns.
The court inside G.B. Hodge Center was named after Payne and his wife, Ann, during a halftime ceremony on Jan. 20, 2018.
Payne played college basketball at Wake Forest before going into coaching.
–Field Level Media
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