Hometown kid Penny Hardaway has agreed to take over coaching duties of the fledgling Memphis Tigers basketball program.
The 46-year-old, who led the Orlando Magic to the finals along with Shaquille O’Neal, will replace Tubby Smith after just two seasons. Hardaway signed a three-year contract for an undisclosed amount.
While he has zero coaching experience, Hardaway has been known as a heady point guard since high school up to his NBA playing days. He was billed to be the best point guard since Magic Johnson but his career was marred by injuries.
When he played for Treadwell High School in Memphis and averaged 36.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.8 blocks. During his junior season for the Tigers, he averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.2 blocks. He skipped his senior year and declared for the 1993 NBA Draft.
The former Tigers point guard is facing an uphill battle apart from getting some wins on the hardcourt. He should also feel responsible for bringing some people into the seats as the attendance plummeted to just 6,200 this season from the nearly 10,000 in 2016-2017.
The plummeting attendance also resulted in the sponsors shying away from supporting the basketball program. Reportedly, financial support for the Tigers starting in 2016 already dwindled by $1.1 million.