Tennessee Tech's Payne resigns after 8 seasons

Tennessee Tech coach Steve Payne has resigned from his position, the school announced Sunday.

Payne had been with the Golden Eagles since 2002, taking over as the head coach in 2011 after nine seasons as an assistant under Mike Sutton.

"There are a lot of things I can say," Payne said in a statement. "I've been here 17 years and I love the University and the entire town. My kids have grown up in the Cookeville community and I am very appreciative of my time at Tech. We had a rebuilding year this year after graduating five seniors last season and played most of the season with just seven healthy scholarship guys. It was a tough situation, but I thought the kids did a great job. The future is bright. I'm proud of many things. We won the academic award twice. We recruited the right kids. I'm very proud of our guys. The future is very bright for the program. I'm hopeful for them and the fans."

Payne failed to make the NCAA tournament in any of his eight seasons at the helm. Heading into this season, he was 110-111 overall -- but the Golden Eagles struggled in 2018-19. They finished at the bottom of the Ohio Valley standings, going 8-23 overall and 4-14 in the league.

Tennessee Tech had lost nine games in a row before winning its season finale at Eastern Illinois on Saturday.