Tubby Smith dumped as coach at Memphis

Tubby Smith dumped as coach at Memphis

During his career, Smith has reached the NCAA tournament 18 times, including nine Sweet 16 appearances, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an NCAA national title in 1997-98 at Kentucky. Tubby Smith, looking to run a clean program and not risk NCAA violations, fired Keelon Lawson and nearly immediately, the local media declared Smith a problem for Memphis basketball. I'm proud of the work my staff and I have done to serve the players, the school and the community in leading us to a 21-13 season this year.

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 never matched his elite success at Kentucky, but had two respectable seasons at Memphis, notching 40 wins and narrowly missing the NIT twice. However, Smith has coached in the NCAA Tournament just once in the last five seasons - in 2016 with Texas Tech.

Memphis still owes Smith almost $10 million, thanks to three years left on his five-year contract, according to the Commercial-Appeal. 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. Donations are down $1.1 million, and the school is likely to miss out on their usual $800,000 payment from the Grizzlies due to the low attendance at the Forum. The Tigers made the conference semifinal before losing to Cincinnati.


Penny Hardaway is a top candidate to replace Smith.

From the moment Smith fired Keelon Lawson, local media like Gary Parrish declared Memphis basketball to be dead as long as Tubby Smith was the head coach.

Hardaway has spent the last several years coaching at powerhouse East High School and appears ready to make the jump to college basketball.

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