Penny Hardaway will be introduced as the new coach of the Memphis Tigers men's basketball team in a press conference on Tuesday (March 20). Hardaway will be replacing Tubby Smith who was fired after only two seasons at the helm, according to

Smith is a very decorated men's basketball head coach, with stints at big-name basketball schools such as the University of Kentucky and Texas Tech University. In 2016, with Texas Tech, Smith became only the second men's basketball coach in history to lead five different teams to the NCAA tournament, according to

Why replace Smith?

For a team that competed in the 2008 national championship game, things have not been looking too good.

This year, Memphis finished with a 21-13 record and in fifth place in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). The Tigers missed the NCAA tournament. Last season, in Smith’s first year, the Tigers finished with a 19-13 record and also finished fifth in the AAC. The Tigers also missed the NCAA tournament that year.

Smith is only the second Memphis basketball head coach since 1951 to miss out on the NCAA tournament in both of his first two seasons as head coach, according to

Memphis University has been suffering from a lack of attendance at basketball games, according to, so administration seems to be making moves to help solve that issue.

Why hire Hardaway?

Memphis believes Hardaway is the answer to turning their basketball program around. Hardaway was a star athlete at Memphis University in the early 1990s where he played two seasons of basketball for the Tigers. He was academically ineligible to play in his freshman year (although he finished school with a 3.4 GPA) and left Memphis early to declare for the NBA Draft before his senior season.

Hardaway spent 15 years in the NBA and finished his career with four All-Star Game appearances. Throughout his career, he averaged 15.2 points per game, according to

After his playing days were over, he moved to coaching. Before accepting the position as head coach at Memphis, Hardaway coached at Memphis East High where he recently won his third consecutive state title.

According to, Hardaway has connections with three top-40 high school recruits in the class of 2019 through his high school team and his Nike EYBL program. They are the top-ranked recruit James Wiseman, No. 26 D.J. Jeffries and No. 40 Chandler Lawson. Those connections combined with other top-tier basketball connections that Hardaway has makes him a prime candidate for the head coaching position at Memphis.

What's next for Memphis?

Tigers fans are anxious to see what Hardaway can do for the program and have high expectations for the program in the upcoming years.

After missing the NCAA tournament in each of the past four years, the Tigers are looking to shake up their coaching staff to get over the hump and participate in the madness of the national tournament. Memphis University administration seems to believe replacing Smith with Hardaway brings them one rung closer to the top of that latter to cut down the net at the end of the year.