Wes Pifer enters his fourth season with the Northern Arizona men’s basketball team.
During the 2015-16 school year, Pifer continued to guide the guards, and helped mold Kris Yanku into the best free throw shooter in NAU history. In just three years at NAU, Yanku finished his Lumberjack career with 518 made free throws; 160 more than second place. Yanku became the 28th member of the 1,000-point Club, tallying 1,245 points for 17th all-time.
Year two for Pifer with NAU was a very successful one as he helped coach the Lumberjacks to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tourament. Pifer was an integral part of a school record 23 overall wins and four postseason victories. Yanku picked up All-Big Sky First Team honors, while Quinton Upshur was a Second Team honoree and Aaseem Dixon earned an honorable mention nod.
In Pifer’s first season with the Lumberjacks, he helped coach the Lumberjacks to a second place finish in the Big Sky Conference. Four guards were among NAU’s top five scorers, including Upshur, the 2014 Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and First Team honoree.At the free throw line, Yanku ranked sixth in the category, while Upshur and Yanku were fourth and fifth in the league in steals.
Prior to NAU, Pifer spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina Central University. While at NCCU, Pifer oversaw the development of three All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) first team selections at NCCU over the last two seasons. The Eagles twice broke the Division I record for wins in a season during Pifer’s tenure while the team totaled a 25-9 mark over the two years in MEAC play.
Prior to joining the staff at North Carolina Central, Pifer was an assistant coach for two years at St. Andrews University, a Division II school in Laurinburg, N.C. He was the recruiting coordinator and head coach of the junior varsity team while assuming total team responsibilities, including coaching and developing all players, creating scouting reports, compiling monthly call logs, and communicating with boosters and alumni.
Pifer’s first coaching job came at Miami Dade College during the 2008-09 season where he worked with fellow NAU assistant coach Matt Dunn. The team was ranked No. 7 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) rankings and recorded a school-record 30 wins. As the perimeter coach at Miami Dade, Pifer helped numerous student-athletes sign with Division I schools, including Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), James Beatty (Rutgers), Will Coleman (Memphis), Darnell Dodson (Kentucky), and Dwan McMillan (Hofstra).
Pifer began his collegiate playing career at Methodist University before playing his final two seasons at Penn State University-Altoona from 2002-04 under the tutelage of former NBA player Armon Gilliam. During his time at PSU-Altoona, Pifer averaged 9.1 points, 5.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game for the Division III institution. Pifer played in Europe for BBG Herford in the Germany 2 Regionalliga.
Pifer returned to PSU-Altoona to complete his bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies in 2007.
Pifer and the former Darcy Pratt were married in July 2014. The two have a son, Jayden Paul, and a daughter, Hayley.