New coach Penny Hardaway already having impact on Memphis

In this June 8, 2018 photo, Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway talks about his new job in the school's basketball offices Friday, June 8, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. Hardaway knows exactly what Memphis fans demand from the Tigers in men's basketball, and the first-time college coach says he feels born to coach this team right now. The charismatic former NBA star with his own shoe already has revived interest in his alma mater. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer | Source: MSN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — League championships, the NCAA Tournament and another Final Four berth all accomplished by teams with a healthy dose of local talent — before sellout crowds.

High expectations for any college coach. For someone in their first college job, the combination easily could be just too much.

Not for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

“I meet pressure head on,” Memphis’ newest coach said. “I mean I feel like I was born to do what I’m doing right now. I feel like I have a good enough staff and us as a crew and our team, I really love my team, and I feel like we can do whatever we really put our minds to that we can do. I don’t shy away from it. I know it’s there, but I’m ready for the challenge.”

Coaching his hometown Tigers seems like a perfect fit for the man known locally as just Penny. And fans desperate to reclaim past glory see the Memphis native who grew up here, played at then-Memphis State for another local legend in Larry Finch and returned to town when his All-Star career in the NBA ended as the man to restore the program to the glory that includes three Final Fours — even if only one still counts on the books.

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