Tubby Smith no longer Memphis head coach

Angelo Anderson
March 15, 2018

Tubby Smith was sacked as the head men's basketball coach at Memphis after two seasons at the helm, he told reporters on Wednesday.

Last week, CBSSports.com reported the University was considering firing Tubby Smith and hiring Penny Hardaway, who starred at the University of Memphis and the National Basketball Association in the 1990's.

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.

Smith's tenure at Memphis ended with a final record of 40-26.

He came to Memphis in April 2016 as one of only two coaches to lead five different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Memphis finished 21-13 and fifth in the American Athletic Conference in Smith's second season. He previously coached at Texas Tech, Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa.

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

Smith went 19-13 in his first season and followed that with a major roster turnover bringing in 11 new players. Attendance at Tigers games has slumped to the point that the school might not receive an annual payment from the FedExForum.

Smith's departure was not unexpected, according to multiple reports, and discussions of his dismissal gained steam after Memphis lost in overtime at lowly East Carolina in early February. The response from fans is mixed, but all of the Tiger faithful seem to agree that they just hope the basketball program can start contending for conference championships again - and soon, regardless of who the head coach is.

Penny Hardaway is a top candidate to replace Smith.

Asked upon leaving the meeting if he was still the Tigers head coach, Tubby Smith simply said, "No".

Penny is now the coach at Memphis East High School. Forward James Wiseman, the No. 2 prospect in 2019 nationally, plays for Hardaway on both teams.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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