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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pastner’s dad speaks about his possible move

    Josh Pastner
    Josh Pastner

    He’s only 30, but Josh Pastner is arguably the most important part of the Arizona men’s basketball coaching staff besides head coach Lute Olson.

    But after last year’s drama-filled season and the addition of Russ Pennell and the future addition of Mike Dunlap – who made it public this week that he’d be accepting the associate head coaching position when it officially becomes available in about a week – to the staff, it has been rumored on multiple Internet message boards, blogs and articles that Pastner could soon be gone.

    Pastner’s father, Hal, told the Daily Wildcat on Wednesday that Josh may not be with the program much longer.

    “”I’ve been watching everything but he might be leaving Arizona,”” Hal said.

    When asked where Josh would go if he left Arizona, Hal said, “”Well, look at some of the Web boards. I don’t want to say it. Check it all out.””

    Web sites have claimed that Josh could be headed to Memphis. Ex-Tiger assistants Derek Kellogg became the head coach at the University of Massachusetts on April 23 and Chuck Martin was hired as the head coach at Marist on April 17, leaving two vacancies for Josh.

    Memphis head coach John Calipari has not returned multiple phone calls from the Daily Wildcat. Pastner turned down jobs from Kentucky and Marquette over the past year.

    Hal hinted that there is a possibility that Josh would return to Tucson if he leaves.

    “”Lute Olson brought some other people in so Josh might have to go somewhere else and come back one day,”” Hal said.

    When asked how long it would be until Josh left, Hal said, “”Very, very soon.””

    Josh said his dad shouldn’t be saying he may leave the UA program “”because I don’t know what I’m doing yet.””

    But Josh did appreciate his dad calling him a “”great backbone and a spokesman for the University of Arizona,”” and praised the city of Tucson.

    “”That’s my best friend, that’s my pops and of course he’s going to say nice things,”” Josh said. “”All I can tell you is that I love the U of A. I love coach Olson. I love this program. I love the Tucson community. I think it’s one of the most charitable communities in the world and I think stuff like that is off the charts. You’re talking about what people in this community do for each other and look after each other.””

    Josh said if he left Tucson, where he’s been for 12 years, it would only be a temporary leave.

    “”I call Tucson my home,”” he said. “”I’m originally from Houston but I call Tucson my home now. And if I were to ever leave Tucson, I’d being leaving a spot because I’d want to come home because home is Tucson and that’s the way I look at it.

    “”If I were to leave, I wouldn’t want to leave forever. I would love to come back here one day. But even if it’s not coming back here in basketball terms, coming back here in the community. Tucson is my home.””

    Being under Olson as a player and a coach for so many years only brings Josh to another level and would make him an instant success anywhere he went, Hal said, adding that it’s Josh’s goal to become a head coach one day.

    “”He’s way beyond his years,”” Hal said. “”He could take on any major program in America and run it. The (athletic director) that has faith in him at 30 years old to say, ‘Josh, this is your program,’ will never regret it ’cause he’ll take that team to a national championship, God willing. Or at least – put it this way: he’ll make them successful.””

    Olson’s contract runs’ through 2011, when he’ll be nearly 77 years old. Leaving for a couple of years and returning to run the program after Olson retires isn’t an unrealistic thought about Josh, whom Olson recruited as a junior in high school not for his playing ability, but for his ability to coach.

    If Josh left the program, it wouldn’t be because of anything negative about with Olson, Hal said.

    “”One thing for sure, Lute Olson has been a tremendous influence on Josh,”” Hal said. “”Lute Olson has treated him like gold. Lute Olson has given him every opportunity in life and Josh leaving has nothing to do with Lute Olson. He’d be holding to Lute Olson forever.””

    Hal couldn’t say what kind of hit the Wildcat program would take if it lost Pastner – especially after losing Kevin O’Neill and Miles Simon – but made it clear that a program is not always based on continuity, hinting again that Pastner may leave and return later.

    “”Nobody’s indispensable,”” Hal said. “”Everybody can be replaced. … But, you know, sometimes you’ve got to move on to come back.””

    Josh’s father said he’d be leaving with a positive attitude, but it wouldn’t necessarily be an easy move.

    “”Of course he’ll have a lot of emotions, but again, he’s leaving positive,”” Hal said. “”Josh’s goal is to become a head coach at a major Division I school. And he knows and I know that he could take any major college today and run it.””

    And though Josh said Hal is “”just being a dad,”” Hal doesn’t think that way.

    “”I’m not just a dad,”” Hal said. “”I know the game and I’ve watched him. … I know behind the scenes. I’ve watched him and I’m proud of him.””

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