Hardaway now is the head coach at Memphis East High School and founder of a Memphis-based AAU team, Team Penny, which could reverse Smith's failures on the recruiting trail at the university.
On Wednesday, Memphis announced it was firing head coach Tubby Smith, ending his three-year run at the school. 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.
Sources told ESPN that former Memphis and National Basketball Association star Penny Hardaway is a potential replacement. "Details are to be finalized, and no further comment will be offered", a statement from the athletic department read. The Tigers reached the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament before losing to Cincinnati.
ESPN first reported the news about Smith, who went 40-26 overall and 19-17 in American Athletic Conference.
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As it stands right now, Memphis still owes Tubby Smith approximately $9.75 million which the school will have to pay out to the former coach while also preparing to hire a new coach and staff.
Smith, who has a distinguished coaching career that included a 1998 NCAA championship with Kentucky, took over the Memphis head coach job from Josh Pastner, who left in 2016 for a job at Georgia Tech.
Asked upon leaving the meeting if he was still the Tigers head coach, Tubby Smith simply said, "No".
Hardaway has coached multiple top prospects at his current position with East High School in Memphis and as the director of Team Penny AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit.