KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Donlon has announced three additions to his coaching staff: Steve Payne, Rodney Perry and Drew Benedict. Payne and Perry hold the position of assistant coach, while Benedict is the Director of Basketball Operations. Lucas McKay, a new assistant coach, started his position on April 15. Read about McKay’s story HERE.
Payne will focus on coaching post players, scheduling, junior college recruiting and organizing team camps. He arrives at Kansas City having been the head coach at Tennessee Tech for the past eight seasons (2011-19). Overall, he was at Tech since 2002, serving as assistant and associate head coach from 2002-11. At Tech, he compiled a 118-134 (.468) head coaching record, including three seasons of 19 victories and two postseason appearances.
"Steve, having been a successful head coach, brings a wealth of experience,” said head coach Donlon. “His basketball knowledge and passion to help young people grow is contagious. He developed Kevin Murphy into an NBA player. Steve's teams always played with great effort, enthusiasm, and execution and this will be critical in our program development. I am looking forward to having Steve and Kelly and their kids Parker, Paxton and Abigail join Roo Nation.”
In his first season as head coach in 2011-12, Payne led the Golden Eagles to a 19-14 record and the program’s sixth ever postseason trip, playing in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. In 2015-16, Payne collected his second 19-win season while leading the Golden Eagles to their seventh postseason appearance in program history and second under his watch, accepting a bid to the inaugural Vegas 16 Tournament.
Prior to his arrival at Tech, Payne was the acting 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 (1996-2000) under head coach Happy Osborne. During that time, the Tigers compiled a 128-22 record and three Mid-South Conference championships in four years. The Tigers won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship in 1997-98. Georgetown also 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, assistant coach at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and 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.
For Payne’s complete bio, CLICK HERE.
Perry brings with him over 25 years of head coaching duties at the collegiate, high school and camp levels. Most recently, he was the associate head coach at Oral Roberts University for two years (2016-18) and the head boy’s coach at Summit Christian Academy (High School) in Oklahoma during 2018-19. At Summit Christian, he won the first conference championship in school history.
"The name Rodney Perry is synonymous with Kansas City Basketball,” said head coach Donlon. “He helped construct and build the MOKAN Basketball Program. He guided Avila to their best season in school history. Rodney has worked with NBA players like Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr., Semi Ojeleye, Alec Burks and Willie Cauley-Stein. Rodney has worked for two outstanding coaches in Danny Nee and Scott Sutton. Rodney and Leslie are ready to ROO UP!”
At Oral Roberts, Perry began under Scott Sutton’s staff and finished with Paul Mills. He helped the Golden Eagles lead the Summit League in rebounding margin in league games the last two years. In 2018-19, ORU big men Emmanuel Nzekwesi and Kevin Obanor were both named to the All-Summit League second team, while Obanor picked up Freshman of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and All-Newcomer Team honors as well.
For six seasons from 2010-16, Perry was the head coach at Avila University (Mo.), where he compiled three winning seasons. Included in his tenure was a school-record 20-11 mark during the 2015-16 campaign. Overall, he won 81 contests at the NAIA institution in suburban Kansas City.
Prior to Avila, he coached at the Division I level at Duquesne University and Western Illinois University and at the Division II level at Southwest Baptist University.
Perry played two years at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith before transferring to Missouri State University, where he helped the Bears to a pair of postseason appearances. In 1992, he was part of Charlie Spoonhour's 23-8 NCAA Tournament team. In his senior season in 1993, he served as co-captain for an MSU squad that posted a 20-11 mark and advanced to the quarterfinal of the National Invitational Tournament under Mark Bernsen.
For Perry’s complete bio, CLICK HERE.
Benedict comes to Kansas City after a playing and coaching career at Huntington University, an NAIA institution in Huntington, Ind. He was a four-year athlete on the basketball team, graduating with a Sport & Recreation Management degree in 2017. While earning his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from 2017-19, Benedict was an assistant on the coaching staff under head coach Ty Platt. Benedict was a player on the 2013-14 Forester team to go 24-8 and advance to the NAIA National Tournament.
"Drew Benedict eats, sleeps and breathes basketball,” said head coach Donlon. “He played an instrumental part in building Huntington University into a successful NAIA program both as a player and coach. He is a tireless worker that grew up in a basketball family. His dad Chris is a legendary high school coach in Indiana. Drew has always built great relationships with players and that is critical in coaching young people today.”
At Columbia City High School, Benedict was a three-time All-Northeast Hoosier Conference First Team selection while graduating as the school's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made (266). He also ended his career as the second-leading scorer in school history. He was a captain on the 2011 semifinal team at state competition.
A native of Columbia City, Ind., Benedict’s main duties will be the organization of team travel, the budget and overall operations of the program. Drew’s father, Chris, is a highly successful head coach in the Indiana High School ranks with nearly 400 career wins.
For Benedict’s complete bio, CLICK HERE.
Payne’s Coaching Career:
- 2019-20 season: Kansas City – Assistant Coach
- 2011-19 seasons (8): Tennessee Tech – Head Coach (118-134 record (.468))
- 2002-11 seasons (9): Tennessee Tech – Associate Head Coach / Assistant Coach
- 2000-02 seasons (2): Frank Phillips Junior College (Texas) – Head Coach (29-31 record (.483))
- 1996-2000 seasons (4): Georgetown College (Ky.) – Associate Head Coach
- 1994-96 seasons (2): Northwestern State University (La.) – Assistant Coach
- 1991-94 seasons (3): Union University (Tenn.) – Assistant Coach
Perry’s Coaching Career:
- 2019-20 season: Kansas City – Assistant Coach
- 2018-19 season (1): Summit Christian Academy High School (Okla.) – Head Coach
- 2016-18 seasons (2): Oral Roberts University (Okla.) – Associate Head Coach
- 2010-16 seasons (6): Avila University (Mo.) – Head Coach (81-96 record (.458))
- 2007-08 season (1): Western Illinois University – Assistant Coach
- 2006-07 season (1): Miller High School (Mo.) – Head Coach
- 2005-06 season (1): Duquesne University (Pa.) – Assistant Coach
- 2003-05 seasons (2): Duquesne University (Pa.) – Coordinator of Basketball Operations
- 2002-03 season (1): Southwest Baptist University (Mo.) – Assistant Coach
- 1994-2002: Assistant Coach / Head Coach at various Missouri High Schools
Benedict’s Coaching Career:
- 2019-20 season: Kansas City – Director of Basketball Operations
- 2017-19 seasons (2): Huntington University (Ind.) – Assistant Coach