Artie Pepelea brings a wealth of coaching knowledge and recruiting savvy as he begins his second season as an assistant coach on the Middle Tennessee staff.
Pepelea. 36, had spent eight seasons as the top assistant to Dan Dakich at Bowling Green prior to being hired at Middle Tennessee by head coach Kermit Davis to replace former associate head coach Donnie Tyndall, who was named head coach at Morehead State.
Pepelea, a native of Danville, Ill., is actually on his second tour of duty at Middle Tennessee after serving as an administrative assistant on David Farrar's Blue Raider staff during the 1994-95 season.
It didn't take long for Pepelea to make an impact in the Blue Raider program. Regarded as a staunch recruiter, Pepelea was part of a Middle Tennessee staff that landed a 2007 signing class rated No. 1 in the Sun Belt and No. 48 nationally by HoopScoop.
The class was also rated the 13th best among mid-majors nationally by Rivals.com. It wasn't the first time Pepelea was on a staff that had a highly-rated signing class. He also was part of signing a Top 50 class at Ball State, which resulted in 22 wins in 2002 - the most wins for the program since 1992. He was also part of a Top 50 signing class at Bowling Green, which resulted in 24 wins in 2002 - the most for that program since the 1948-49 season.
Prior to joining the Middle Tennessee staff, Pepelea's other coaching stops include Ball State (1995-1998) and Bowling Green (1999-2006).
During his time at Bowling Green, Pepelea was part of a staff that helped lead the squad to 18 or more wins in four of the eight seasons - a feat that has been accomplished by the Falcons just one other time since 1958.
The hard-working assistant, who is widely respected in coaching circles, assists with organizing recruiting, scheduling, on-court coaching, day-to-day teaching of players, scouting reports, game preparation, and day-to-day operations involved in running the basketball program.
Pepelea has served on staffs that have recruited 23 All Mid-American Conference performers and one All-Sun Belt honoree, and he has coached three of the MAC's top 14 all-time leading scorers. Pepelea has been a part of two MAC championship teams, in 2000 at Bowling Green, and in 1998 at Ball State. In addition, he has helped squads to three NIT appearances and worked with MAC Players of the Year Keith McLeod (2002) and Anthony Stacey (2000), while at Bowling Green, and Bonzi Wells (1996 and 1998), while at Ball State. Wells now plays for the Houston Rockets and McLeod plays for the Indiana Pacers.
While at Ball State, Pepelea helped the Cardinals to a 21-8 record in 1997-98 and a berth in the NIT after tying Western Michigan for the West Division MAC championship - their first since 1992. Ball State was 53-33 in Pepelea's three years on the staff before he moved to Bowling Green.
At Bowling Green, Pepelea was part of six winning seasons in eight years and the Falcons produced a 133-96 record during that span, including a high-water mark for wins with a 24-9 ledger in 2001-02 - their most since the 1948-49 season.
Pepelea earned his undergraduate degree from Wisconsin-Parkside in 1994 in political science. He earned four letters as a member of the Parkside basketball team, starting for two seasons and leading the squad in assists. He earned second-team All-State honors during his senior year at Anderson High School in Anderson, Ind.
Pepelea and his wife, Melissa, have been married for 12 years and have two children - 7-year-old daughter Morgan and 3-year-old son Quintin.