Tubby Smith Out At Memphis

Florence Fletcher
March 15, 2018

Smith is only the third coach since 1951 to miss the postseason entirely during his first two seasons at Memphis.

Smith, 66, is out after just two years with the Tigers, going 40-26 over that span.

According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, Memphis will owe Smith $10 million over a six-year period.

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.

Hardaway now is the head coach at Memphis East High School and founder of a Memphis-based AAU team, Team Penny, which could reverse Smith's failures on the recruiting trail at the university.

Memphis issued a statement saying only that an agreement of "separation" had been reached in the "best financial interest" of the university with details still to be finalized.

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A former national champion head coach at Kentucky, Smith was brought in to replace Josh Pastner, who left for Georgia Tech after much of the Tigers' fanbase had soured on the once-popular coach.

His son, Saul, had been one of three assistant coaches on staff at Memphis. The Tiger job would be the first college gig for Hardaway who happens to be a few months older than Finch was when he was sacked by the university after the 1996-97 season.

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.

That combination hurts Memphis, which failed in its 2016 bid to join the Big 12. The Tigers made the conference semifinal before losing to Cincinnati.

Smith has been a Division-I head coach since 1991, making 18 NCAA Tournament appearances - including 14 straight from 1994 to 2007. Hardaway is now coaching the East High Mustangs, a team favored to win its third straight state title this week in Murfreesboro.

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