Tubby Smith leaving Memphis after 21-win season

Penny Hardaway top candidate to replace fired Smith at Memphis

While it hasn't been confirmed who will replace Smith, Hardaway starred collegiately at Memphis, and he is now the head coach East High in Memphis, Tennessee.

The wheels for a coaching change were put into motion earlier in the day on Wednesday, when Smith announced that he had been relieved of his duties after two years. The Tigers poached the Big 12 Coach of the Year in April of 2016 from the Texas Tech Red Raiders to replace Josh Pastner, a coach who ushered Memphis basketball from C-USA to the American Athletic Conference with worse results every season (finishing tied for 3rd, then tied for 5th and finally 7th in his three seasons as a coach in the AAC). "Details are to be finalized, and no further comment will be offered". Smith is 597-302 with a national title with Kentucky in 1998.

He is still owed $10 million on his contract, which was for five years.

Smith went 19-13 in his first season and followed that with a major roster turnover bringing in 11 new players.

From the moment Smith fired Keelon Lawson, local media like Gary Parrish declared Memphis basketball to be dead as long as Tubby Smith was the head coach.

Attendance dropped to 6,225 this season, Memphis' lowest attendance since 1969-70 and putting the university at risk of missing out on a $800,000 payment from the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies who control the FedExForum. Now 66, Smith leaves without taking Memphis to any postseason tournament in his two seasons. The Tigers made the conference semifinal before losing to Cincinnati.

Penny is now the coach at Memphis East High School.



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