MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Penny Hardaway-University of Memphis marriage will be official tomorrow, sources say.
Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway has agreed to become head men's basketball coach at Memphis, according to multiple WMC Action News 5 sources.
A news conference to announce Penny as the new head coach is expected Tuesday at 11 a.m. The announcement will be broadcast live on WMC Action News 5.
Hardaway--a Memphis native who played for the Tigers from 1991-1993--recently led state powerhouse East High School to its third-consecutive state championship.
Memphis fired Tubby Smith after he became just the second coach since 1970 to fail to reach postseason play during his first two seasons.
Despite having no previous college coaching experience, Hardaway--a four-time NBA All-Star--has been in charge of the nationally successful AAU program, Team Penny, as well as East High.
Through his work with East and Team Penny, Hardaway has direct connections to multiple high-level recruits, including a loaded 2019 class which features No. 1 overall recruit James Wiseman, No. 40 overall Chandler Lawson, and No. 81 overall Malcolm Dandridge--all of whom currently play at East.
Smith, who failed to sign a single top-100 recruit, was criticized throughout his tenure at Memphis for underachieving relative to recruiting expectations.
Attendance at Memphis basketball games nosedived under Smith--falling from more than 16,000 fans per game just four years ago under Josh Pastner to around 6,000 per game this past season.
Hardaway--one of the most beloved figures in Tigers basketball history--appears to be poised to reinvigorate the Memphis fan base.
As for his staff, CBSSports' Gary Parrish reported Hardaway would "likely target" Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. In the article, Parrish quotes Brown as saying, "Penny is one of my favorite guys of all time."
Former Grizzlies star Mike Miller, former Memphis player and Ole Miss assistant Tony Madlock, and former Memphis and current Virginia Tech assistant Steve Roccaforte are other names that have been mentioned as possibilities to join Hardaway's staff.