Ex-‘Cat Pastner hired as Memphis head coach

Lance Madden

Former Arizona player and assistant coach Josh Pastner will be introduced as the head coach of the Memphis men’s basketball program, the school announced on Monday.

A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to formally introduce 31-year-old Pastner.

Pastner spent this season coaching under John Calipari at Memphis. Calipari recently accepted a job as Kentucky’s head coach, leaving the Tigers’ job wide open.

While Pastner’s voicemail inbox was full Monday afternoon, his father, Hal Pastner, said he was very pleased for his son’s promotion, though he had yet to talk to Josh at the time.

“”I’m happy for him,”” Hal said. “”I’m waiting to find out what it’s all about, but I think it’s great. … I’m sure he’ll do well. Whatever he does, he does well and does it from the heart.””

Josh was originally expected to follow Calipari to Kentucky, and there were rumors that he may come back to Tucson to become an assistant under newly-hired UA head coach Sean Miller.

Hal said he didn’t know anything about Josh’s supposed return to Tucson, but added that he knows Josh loved his time at Arizona.

“”I couldn’t have been more thankful for Lute Olson and Jim Rosborough,”” Hal said, referring to Arizona’s former head coach and associate head coach. “”They made Josh’s dream out of high school a reality. All he wanted to do since he was 8 years old was coach.””

“”As far as Arizona goes, the love Lute and Jim gave him was irreplaceable,”” Hal added. “”That’s the truth.””

When asked what it was about his son that made Memphis quick to offer Josh a job, Hal didn’t hesitate, and continued to praise Olson.

“”Hey, there’s something about you and there’s something about your coaching,”” Hal said. “”Josh worked hard and followed coach Olson’s lead. Coach Olson was the master. (Josh) just followed his lead and that helped him so much in his future.””