Penny Hardaway Is Reportedly Headed To Memphis To Become A Head Coach


A brief statement from the university was released after Wednesday's meeting: "After considerable deliberations and in the best financial interests of the University of Memphis, an agreement of separation with head men's basketball coach Tubby Smith has been reached".

During his career, Smith has reached the NCAA tournament 18 times, including nine Sweet 16 appearances, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an NCAA national title in 1997-98 at Kentucky. His tenure with Memphis was hampered by transfers during the last offseason. After his prominent stay with the Wildcats, he went on to coach at Minnesota and Texas Tech before landing with Memphis.

This story will be updated. The team's season ended over the weekend with a 70-60 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats, who won the conference tourney a day later and will be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Memphis will owe Smith $9.75 million because he still had three years remaining on a five-year contract.

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While no replacement coach has been announced, a reunion with former U of M star Penny Hardaway may be in the books. Smith is only the third coach since 1951 to miss the postseason entirely during his first two seasons at Memphis.

His son, Saul, had been one of three assistant coaches on staff at Memphis. With an ultra-talented crop of recruits in the area on the horizon - a lot of them with connections to Hardaway through his AAU program or high school coaching - it isn't a shock that the school wanted to shake things up.

Smith went 19-13 in his first season and followed that with a major roster turnover bringing in 11 new players. The Commercial Appeal also reported donations to the athletic department dropped $1.1 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.