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Josh Pastner apparently is getting what he wants — a head coaching job at a Power 5 conference institution, Georgia Tech of the ACC.
Memphis fans are also having their wish granted — replacing Pastner, although the former Arizona player and assistant coach was 167-73 in his seven years at Memphis. Pastner became a target for unsatisfied Tigers fans, who lambasted him on social media when news broke last night that Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski was negotiating a contract with him.
If the name Bobinksi sounds familiar it is because he was the Xavier athletic director when Arizona lured Sean Miller away from that school in 2009.
Pastner’s mentor, Lute Olson, told KVOA recently that Pastner “burned fences” around Memphis. After taking the Tigers to four consecutive NCAA tournaments, they have not been part of March Madness the last two seasons.
Lute Olson on Josh Pastner a couple weeks ago: "I think he's burned his fences around Memphis" pic.twitter.com/lFAKE0RhTi
— Ari Alexander (@AriA1exander) April 8, 2016
Pastner, only 37, becomes the ACC’s youngest coach. Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams is 43.
He will coach annually against the likes of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and North Carolina’s Roy Williams.
He also takes over a program that has been to the NCAA tournament only three times — including not since 2009-10 — after the Yellowjackets advanced to the championship game in 2003-04 with former Arizona point guard Will Bynum.
Georgia Tech is going to be terrible next season. Lose top four scorers. Major rebuilding job for Pastner.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 8, 2016
If anybody can handle the move, in the midst of his criticism at Memphis and the questions that lay ahead at Georgia Tech, it’s the always upbeat Pastner. When I talked to him last July during the AAU tournaments in Las Vegas, Pastner told me he was aware of how some of the fans treated him at Memphis.
“I can’t be bothered by that,” he told me. “You think most about the kids, what’s best for them. That’s my focus, getting the guys to play at their best. All that other stuff, I can’t control.”
Attendance dwindled at Memphis’ arena this year, forcing Pastner to make a plea for the fans to support above everything else his players.
He needed a fresh start. Memphis also needed a change. Both parties got what they wanted.
I believe Pastner will learn from his experience at Memphis — his first head coaching job — and turn it into a more successful existence at Georgia Tech.
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The first major-league home run for former Wildcat standout Joey Rickard occurred last night. You could watch this highlight over and over again. …
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 8, 2016
This NBA D-League playoff series includes three former Wildcats: Nick Johnson plays for the Austin Spurs, Matt Brase is the head coach of the Rio Grande Vipers and Joseph Blair is one of his assistants. Johnson had eight points and six assists in Austin’s victory last night that tied the series.
— Austin Spurs (@austin_spurs) April 8, 2016
Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors won their 70th game of the season last night with three remaining. They clinched home cout throughout the playoffs. If Kerr, Luke Walton, Bruce Fraser, Andre Iguodala and the group when their last three games, they break Chicago’s record of 72 wins in the 1995-96 regular season. Kerr was part of that magical season as well.
Steve Kerr had a very Steve Kerr answer to the Warriors vs '95-96 Bulls question pic.twitter.com/MFQSdrYsWc
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) April 8, 2016
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.