MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tubby Smith has released a statement hours after being fired as the men’s head basketball coach at the University of Memphis Wednesday afternoon.
"I appreciate the opportunity to have led the University of Memphis basketball program for the last two years. 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.
After 39 years in college coaching, I know that change happens and I wish the University and the team the best as they pursue a different direction. As a lifelong competitor I believe the game never ends and I'll be exploring my next move on and off the court in the coming weeks."
Smith, a Hall of Famer, left Texas Tech in 2016 to take over the Tigers’ program.
Memphis went 19-13 in its first season under Smith. That record improved to 21-13 in year two, but attendance and fan support -- as well as corresponding revenue -- declined.
Smith was informed of the UofM's decision to part ways during a meeting with President David Rudd and Athletics Director Tom Bowen.
Smith’s tenure at Memphis ended with a final record of 40-26. Both years, the Tigers missed the post season.
The University of Memphis issued the following statement:
"After considerable deliberations and in the best financial interest of the University of Memphis, an agreement of separation with Head Men's Basketball Coach Tubby Smith has been reached. Details are to be finalized, and no further comment will be offered."
Three years and $9.75 million remain on Smith’s contract. The university can pay that money over a six-year period.
Last week, CBSSports.com reported the university was considering firing Tubby Smith and hiring Penny Hardaway, who starred at the University of Memphis and the NBA in the 1990’s.
Penny is currently the coach at Memphis East High School. The Mustangs are ranked the top high school basketball team in the state and among the top teams in country.
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