Head coach Josh Pastner has said repeatedly that Memphis is one of the elite basketball programs in the nation. He also knows that, to remain among the country's top programs, Memphis has to continue to recruit elite student-athletes.
A coach that has an eye for sighting top talent is Glynn Cyprien, who joined Pastner's staff in the summer of 2009. One of the nation's top recruiters, Cyprien's efforts have paid off at each of his previous stops, as his recruiting classes have translated into winning seasons and postseason appearances.
And, Cyprien's recruiting prowess has paid dividends for the Tigers in his short time in the Bluff City. Before he and the rest of the staff coached their first game for Memphis, they hauled in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in the early signing period. For his efforts, Cyprien was named one of college basketball's "hoops recruiters extraordinaire" by Yahoo/Rivals.com national writer Jason King in 2010.
Since the 1994-95 season at Western Kentucky, Cyprien has been a part of teams with winning records in 14 campaigns, and of those 14 teams, 13 made it to postseason play (9 NCAA, 4 NIT). In his entire 22-year collegiate coaching career, Cyprien has worked with 14 20-win teams and has been a postseason participant 14 times.
In his first season in Memphis, Cyprien helped guide the Tigers to a 24-10 overall record and a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) berth. It was the 10th-straight season that the Tigers won 20 or more games and earned a postseason tournament bid, both school records. Memphis advanced to the NIT second round, winning a postseason tournament game for the seventh-consecutive year.
The Tigers also posted a 13-3 Conference USA record and finished second in the league's regular season standings. It was the fifth-straight year Memphis won 13 or more conference games.
After the season, sophomore guard Elliot Williams declared for the 2010 NBA Draft and was the 22nd pick of the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers. During Williams' one season with the Tigers, he earned C-USA Newcomer of the Year and All-C-USA first team honors.
Cyprien's two most recent stops prior to Memphis came at Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools in Kentucky and Arkansas. From 2007-09, the New Orleans, La., native helped the Wildcats to a combined 40-27 record and back-to-back postseason appearances (2008 NCAA, 2009 NIT). In his one year at Arkansas, Cyprien helped the Razorbacks to a 21-14 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Before his one year at New Mexico State in 2005-06, Cyprien had an outstanding run as an assistant on Eddie Sutton's staff at Oklahoma State from 2000-04. In his four years in Stillwater, the Cowboys had a combined 97-32 record and earned four-straight NCAA Tournament berths. Cyprien's final year at Oklahoma State was one of the best in the school's history. The Cowboys went 31-4 and advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Ironically, that Oklahoma State team defeated Memphis in the second round en route to the Final Four.
While at UNLV from 1995-2000, it was Cyprien's recruiting efforts that got the Runnin' Rebels back on the national stage. His 1997 recruiting class was rated the best in the nation by The Sporting News and Basketball Times, and the 1999 class was No. 2 in the country according to Hoop Scoop. Those classes translated into four-straight winning seasons and four-consecutive postseason bids (2 NCAA, 2 NIT) from 1997-2000.
Before his move to Las Vegas, Cyprien spent a season at Western Kentucky in 1994-95. The Hilltoppers had a tremendous campaign, compiling a 27-4 record, sweeping the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles and advancing to the NCAA Tournament second round. Western Kentucky was ranked No. 21 in the final national polls, and the Hilltoppers' recruiting class that season was rated 10th-best in the country.
Cyprien began his coaching career with stops at Texas-San Antonio (1987-90), Lamar University (1990-91) and Jacksonville (1991-94). While at Texas-San Antonio, he helped the Roadrunners earn the school's first NCAA Tournament berth in 1988, his first year with the program.