Tubby Smith is not the coach at Memphis after two seasons, together with a 21-win marketing campaign this 12 months. Former Tigers standout Penny Hardaway has emerged because the front-runner to switch him, sources advised ESPN.
“After considerable deliberations and in the best financial interest of the University of Memphis, an agreement of separation with Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tubby Smith has been reached,” the varsity mentioned in a press release. “Details are to be finalized, and no further comment will be offered.”
Smith, 66, changed Josh Pastner in 2016 after three seasons at Texas Tech however by no means appeared to suit with the Tigers. He struggled on the recruiting path and failed to achieve the postseason in both season in Memphis.
Memphis completed 19-13 (9-9 within the American Athletic Conference) in Smith’s first season, then went 21-13 (10-Eight) this season.
Smith has been a Division I head coach since 1991, making 18 NCAA event appearances — together with 14 straight from 1994 to 2007. He gained a nationwide championship with Kentucky in 1998. He additionally hung out with Tulsa, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas Tech.
Smith’s firing comes after greater than every week of hypothesis that Memphis would possibly fireplace him and rent Hardaway. Last week, Smith’s legal professional, Ricky Lefft, defended the job Smith has completed at Memphis, saying Smith deserved an “A” for his efficiency this season. After Memphis beat USF within the American event opening spherical Thursday, Smith mentioned he felt “pretty comfortable, pretty confident about what we’ve done this year and how we’re growing the program.”
Memphis made it to the American event semifinals regardless of dropping main scorer Jeremiah Martin to a damaged foot in February. The Tigers gained seven of their ultimate 9 video games.
Hardaway is the coach of the Memphis East High School crew, which is enjoying within the state event. If it wins two extra video games, it could make the finals on Saturday, and sources advised ESPN that Memphis won’t decide earlier than that point.
Smith was requested whether or not he thought he coached his final recreation with the Tigers after a 70-60 loss to Cincinnati within the American Athletic Conference event semifinals Saturday.
“Who knows?” Smith mentioned.
Information from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson was used on this report.