Jump to content

JR Payne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
JR Payne
Current position
TitleHead coach
Record143–103 (.581)
Biographical details
Born (1977-05-27) May 27, 1977 (age 47)
Jackson, Tennessee
Playing career
1995–1999Saint Mary's
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2000–2005Gonzaga (asst.)
2005–2008Boise State (asst.)
2008–2009Santa Clara (asst.)
2009–2014Southern Utah
2014–2016Santa Clara
Head coaching record
Overall244–216 (.530)

Ali-Marie "JR" Payne (born May 27, 1977)[1] is an American college basketball coach who is currently head women's coach at Colorado.

Early life and education[edit]

Ali-Marie Payne was born in the American city of Jackson, Tennessee and raised in the Canadian city of North Vancouver, British Columbia. Her father nicknamed her after J. R. Ewing, a character on the TV show Dallas.[2] She attended Windsor Secondary School in North Vancouver.[3]

Payne attended Saint Mary's College, where she would play point guard for the Saint Mary's Gaels from 1995 to 1999. During her senior season, Payne helped lead the Gaels to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. She earned two first-team All-West Coast Conference honor. In 1999, Payne graduated from Saint Mary's with a degree in French, then attended San Francisco State University for a year for graduate school.[3][4]

Coaching career[edit]

Assistant coach (2000-2005)[edit]

In 2000, Payne began her women's basketball coaching career at Gonzaga under Kelly Graves. The team improved from five wins in 2000–01 to 28 wins in the 2004-05 season, including a perfect record in West Coast Conference play. Payne helped recruit guard Shannon Mathews, who would become the first All-American in program history.[5]

In 2005, Payne became an assistant coach at Boise State under Gordy Presnell. During her time as assistant, Boise State won Western Athletic Conference titles two of her three years and made the NCAA Tournament. Boise State finished 24-8 twice in a row, including a perfect 14-0 home record in the 2007-08 season.[5]

Southern Utah (2009-2014)[edit]

In 2009, Payne got her first head coaching opportunity at Southern Utah. Payne was head coach at Southern Utah for five seasons. During her time as head coach for the Thunderbirds, the school transitioned from competing in the Summit League to the Big Sky Conference. Payne led Southern Utah team to two winning seasons, including a record 23-win season, Big Sky Conference regular-season co-championship, and first-ever postseason appearance in program history in the 2014 Women's National Invitation Tournament.[6]

Payne finished her career at Southern Utah with only two winning seasons out of five. Her teams did manage an overall winning 24-16 record in Summit League and Big Sky play.

Santa Clara (2014-2016)[edit]

On April 6, 2014, Payne became head coach at Santa Clara.[7] Payne was head coach at Santa Clara for two seasons competing in the WCC Conference. Payne led Santa Clara to a 23-win season in 2015–16, and the Santa Clara Broncos made the WNIT returning to the postseason for the first time in ten years.[8]

Payne finished her career at Santa Clara with her teams managing an overall 18-18 record in WCC Conference play.

Following Santa Clara's exit from the WNIT, Payne was offered the head coach position at the University of Colorado-Boulder (Pac-12), The University of Arizona (Pac-12), and the University of New Mexico (Mountain West).[9]

Colorado (2016-present)[edit]

On March 28, 2016, Payne became head coach at Colorado.[10] The eighth head coach in program history, Payne replaced Linda Lappe, who was fired after only managing a career 33–57 (.367) record in Pac-12 play. The program finished 7-23 (2-16 Pac-12) in Lappe's final season.[11]

Payne inherited a program that had a lack of player talent. The Buffs were only 14–58 (.194) in the last four years of Lappe's coaching tenure in Pac-12 play, despite having a player that would go on to become the program's all-time assists leader. Colorado finished the 2018–19 season with just a 2–16 Pac-12 record. In its 45-year history, it marked the fifth time that the Buffs failed to win at least three conference games. Payne's 2018–19 Colorado team began Pac-12 conference play 0–11, the worst start to conference play in program history.[12] The 102–43 loss at Oregon was the Buffs' worst loss since 1984 and it was the 4th-worst loss in program history.[12]

Before the start of the 2019–20 season, the Buffs were anticipated to continue to struggle, and picked to finish last place in the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Coaches poll by fellow Pac-12 coaches.[13] Yet, Payne and her staff invested in completely remaking the culture of the Colorado Buffs women's basketball team and the team bought in.[14] The Buffs finally turned the corner from the program's struggles to play at a competitive level within the Pac-12 conference. The Buffs put a scare into #6th ranked Stanford, taking the Cardinal to overtime.[15] Colorado had the attention of #8th ranked UCLA, having a chance to tie the game on the last possession.[16] Colorado again played competitively vs Stanford, but lost on a crucial turnover.[17] Colorado upset #11th-ranked Arizona on February 23, 2020, to get their fifth Pac-12 win on the season. It marked the first win over a ranked opponent since 2016 and stopped a 32-game losing streak against ranked opponents.[18]

Through five seasons as head coach of the University of Colorado women's basketball team, Payne only managed 19 total conference wins. She has a career 19–59 (.244) conference record in Pac-12 play, losing about three conference games for every conference game won. Previous head coach at CU Lappe had 37 conference wins in her first five seasons.

Entering the 2020–21 season, the Pac-12 women's conference coaches voted in their pre-season poll that Colorado would finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 once again, with a predicted 9th-place finish.[19] For the second season in a row, Colorado had multiple first quarters where they came out flat and struggled offensively. The CU Buffs only managed 8 total points in the first quarter against Washington State on January 3, 2021, matching the 8 total points in the first quarter against UCLA on February 28, 2020.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Payne is married to assistant coach Toriano Towns and they have three children together: Aliyah, Jordan, and Jaxton.

Head coaching record[edit]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Southern Utah Thunderbirds (Summit League) (2009–2012)
2009–10 Southern Utah 7–23 5–13 8th
2010–11 Southern Utah 16–14 10–8 5th
2011–12 Southern Utah 6–23 2–16 10th
Southern Utah: 29–60 (.326) 17–37 (.315)
Southern Utah Thunderbirds (Big Sky Conference) (2012–2014)
2012–13 Southern Utah 15–16 9–11 7th
2013–14 Southern Utah 23–10 15–5 T–1st WNIT Second Round
Southern Utah: 38–26 (.594) 24–16 (.600)
Santa Clara Broncos (West Coast Conference) (2014–2016)
2014–15 Santa Clara 11–18 5–13 7th
2015–16 Santa Clara 23–9 13–5 T–3rd WNIT First Round
Santa Clara: 34–27 (.557) 18–18 (.500)
Colorado Buffaloes (Pac-12 Conference) (2016–2024)
2016–17 Colorado 17–16 5–13 T–9th WNIT Third Round
2017–18 Colorado 15–16 5–13 9th
2018–19 Colorado 12–18 2–16 12th
2019–20 Colorado 16–14 5–13 T–9th
2020–21 Colorado 12–11 8–8 6th WNIT Quarterfinal
2021–22 Colorado 22–9 9–7 5th NCAA First Round
2022–23 Colorado 25–9 13–5 3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2023–24 Colorado 24–10 11–7 T–5th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Colorado: 143–103 (.581) 58–82 (.414)
Total: 244–216 (.530)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ "J.R. Payne". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on March 29, 2005. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  2. ^ "Payne Named Women's Basketball Coach". University of Colorado. March 28, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "JR Payne Named Santa Clara University Women's Basketball Coach". WCC Sports. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "J.R. Payne". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on May 25, 2001.
  5. ^ a b "JR Payne Southern Utah coaching profile". Southern Utah University. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  6. ^ "JR Payne". University of Colorado. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "JR Payne is new Santa Clara women's basketball coach". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  8. ^ "Season Ends for Women's Basketball After Loss in First Round of WNIT". Santa Clara University. 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  9. ^ "Sources: Payne hired as Colorado's next coach". Swish Appeal. 27 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  10. ^ Howell, Brian (2016-03-28). "CU women's basketball: Buffs to hire JR Payne as head coach". BuffZone.com. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  11. ^ "Colorado names JR Payne to take helm of women's basketball program". www.denverpost.com. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  12. ^ a b "CU Buffs women dominated by Oregon Ducks". February 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "CU Buffs picked 12th by Pac-12 coaches in women's basketball". October 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Buffs Finding the Right Chemistry". University of Colorado Athletics.
  15. ^ "Stanford survives upset-minded Colorado in an overtime thriller, 76-68". January 25, 2020.
  16. ^ "No. 8/9 UCLA Edges Colorado in Game of Runs". UCLA.
  17. ^ Arnie Stapleton (February 16, 2020). "No. 8 Stanford stuns CU Buffs women's basketball on 40-foot buzzer-beater". Associated Press.
  18. ^ "CU Buffs women upset No. 11 Arizona". February 23, 2020.
  19. ^ "Stanford picked as 2020-21 Pac-12 Women's Basketball favorite in preseason polls | Pac-12". pac-12.com.
  20. ^ "Late Rally Falls Short As Buffs Fall To Washington State". University of Colorado Athletics.