Eddie Payne, the former head coach at Oregon State and, most recently, USC Upstate, has passed away. He was 69 years old, and just days shy of his 70th birthday.
Payne suffered a stroke over the weekend. He had surgery on Sunday, but has passed away. Payne had deep roots in the Carolina basketball world, playing at Wake Forest from 1969-73 before coaching at a number of schools in North and South Carolina throughout his career.
As an assistant, he coached at Clemson (1976-78), East Carolina (1979-81), and South Carolina (1986-91), among other smaller programs. In 1991, he landed his first head coaching gig back at ECU. In 1993, he led the Pirates to the CAA Tournament championship, and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history. It remains their most recent bid to the Big Dance.
Payne took over at Oregon State in 1995, going 52-88 in five seasons. In 2000, he took over Division III Greensboro College, and in 2002, landed USC Upstate, where he coached 15 years. He reached the Division II NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007, guided the program to Division I, when the Spartans joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. He went 134-187 at the D1 level with the Spartans, reaching the CIT four times, including his final year in 2017.
Sad news to report as a family friend tells us former USC Upstate, E. Carolina, and Oregon State head coach Eddie Payne has passed. It was reported that he suffered a stroke over the weekend. He would have been 70 on Saturday.
— Pete Yanity (@pyanity) July 7, 2021
Payne finished with a 484–474 overall record as a college basketball head coach. Ahead of the 2017-18 season, he called it a career, citing multiple ankle replacement surgeries.
After the 2011-12 season, in which USC Upstate went 21-13 (13-5) and reached the second round of the CIT, Eddie Payne won the Hugh Durham Award, for the most outstanding mid-major coach of the year. He was also named the ASUN Coach of the Year.
Our thoughts go out to Payne’s friends and family, and all affected by his loss.