There is so much more history in Memphis Hoops than it meets the eye. The University of Memphis has enjoyed a great deal of success in college basketball of late, especially under the tutelage of John Calipari from 2000 to 2009.
Under Calipari, Memphis hoops went an incredible 214-67 and an even more astonishing 101-25 in conference play. The Tigers finished or tied for first seven of those nine seasons and appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times in the decade.
Memphis won the NIT tournament in 2001-02 with a 27-9 record. In 2007-08, Memphis hoops went a spectacular 38-2 before suffering a devastating over-time loss to Kansas in the NCAA National Championship game.
Although, the school-record 2007-08 was vacated by the NCAA due to academic fraud, the season still remains one of the greatest in the program’s history.
Calipari left the program after the 2009 season for an opportunity to be the head coach at Kentucky University, one of the most storied college basketball programs in the nation. While the news was fantastic for Calipari and Kentucky Wildcat fans, the other Wildcats (Memphis) were reeling.
On April 7, 2009, Memphis introduced Josh Pastner as the newest head coach. Pastner, despite only being 31 years of age (the youngest head coach in the NCAA) brings a wealth of experience to the program. Pastner played and served as an assistant coach under the legendary Lute Olson at Arizona.
Memphis went 24-10 in 2009-10, earning an invitation to the NIT tournament (they lost in the 2nd round to Ole Miss, 80-91).
The history of Memphis basketball dates back to the 1920’s when the university was still known as the “West Tennessee State Normal School.” The school’s first coach, Frederick Grantham, also served as player, thereby officially recognizing his role as a “player/coach” for the program.
By 1924, the coaching duties became regulated to pure spectator and wisely so. Zach Curlin, coached basketball, baseball, and football at the school for 23 years and became the winningest coach in Memphis history.