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“You can become a father figure for these boys. You can help them not just with on-the-court stuff, but also off-the-court issues. I think that’s amazing.” — Jason Gardner about coaching
FORMER ARIZONA PLAYERS AS HEAD COACHES
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Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has hired former Arizona point guard Jason Gardner as its head coach, according to a report by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.
Gardner, 33, will return to his Indianapolis home. He joined another former Arizona player — Josh Pastner — at Memphis for the past year. Gardner was previously an assistant at Loyola-Chicago from 2011 to 2013.
Gardner graduated from North Central High in Indianapolis in 1999. He was a four-year starter Arizona from 1999 to 2003.
He replaces Todd Howard, who was 26-70 in three seasons as IUPUI’s head coach after 16 years as an assistant.
Gardner is Arizona’s Iron Man, having played the most minutes (4,825) as a Wildcat. He averaged a record 38.5 minutes a game over his 136-game UA career.
When Gardner was selected into the Pac-12’s Hall of Honor last year, he told me why he wanted to become a coach. At the time, he was an assistant at Loyola. He was hired by Pastner last May after another Arizona legend, Damon Stoudamire, returned to Tucson to be part of Sean Miller’s staff.
“You can become a father figure for these boys,” Gardner told me. “You can help them not just with on-the-court stuff, but also off-the-court issues.
“I think that’s amazing. You’re still involved around the game, just learning and trying to learn as much as possible.”