Memphis coach Penny Hardaway announced Tuesday he will retain that title after reportedly drawing recent interest from the Orlando Magic for their vacant head coaching position. In a video posted to his Instagram account, Hardaway explained his ultimate goal is to one day become a head coach in the NBA but he made it clear that right now his focus is centered on his alma mater and winning with the Tigers.
“Just like I had dreams coming out of college to make it to the NBA and I achieved those goals, it was a huge goal and huge dream, it happened for me, one day in the future I would love to coach in the NBA. And wouldn’t it be great if it were the Orlando Magic? But today isn’t that day,” Hardaway said. “Today I’m here with my players, with the fans, with the city, working hard as I can to try to bring us a national championship. That’s what I set out to do; that’s what I want to do.”
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish confirmed Tuesday evening that in addition to Hardaway returning, Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is expected to join the Tigers staff as an assistant coach. An official announcement is expected this week, per a source. Parrish also reports that Memphis administration initially shot down the hire but Hardaway pushed for it and finally got it done.
Brown, 80, last coached at the college level in 2016 after a four-season stint at SMU. His most recent coaching experience came as head coach for Auxilium Torino of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A.
Hardaway starred for the Magic from 1993-1999 making the potential leap from Memphis, where he starred in college, to Orlando, where he developed into an All-Star, a script cut straight from the movies. And maybe it happens in the future. But after three just seasons in Memphis where he’s amassed a 63-32 record, there’s still unfinished business for him with the Tigers.
“I’m going to be here,” he said. “I don’t want you guys to be afraid that I’m going anywhere.”