Josh Pastner will go from being a Wildcat to a Tiger.
Memphis said Monday it would hire the Arizona assistant basketball coach – known for being a tireless and dogged recruiter – pending approval of the University and Tennessee State Board of Regents.
“We are excited that Josh is joining our staff,” Memphis coach John Calipari said in a news release. “To add a coach with the experience and success Josh has is a plus for our program and the University. We are always looking to move forward and improve our basketball program in every way, and I believe Josh can help us to do that.”
Pastner visited Memphis last week and said “the trip went well.”
Still, on Monday afternoon Pastner, who has been at UA for the past 12 years as a player and then coach, was wearing his Arizona T-shirt and showing potential recruits’ parents around the UA campus.
“I’m doing things the right way,” he said, still remaining loyal to UA to the last days.
“It’s not (about) leaving here because I don’t want to leave here,” he said. “But this gives me a chance to stretch my wings. How great is it to say, ‘I’ve worked for Lute Olson and John Calipari?’
“I did nothing without consulting Coach Olson and Mr. (Jim) Livengood about it. They both agreed that this would allow me to stretch and expand and get better. Tucson is my home.”
Pastner, 30, said his leaving had nothing to do with Olson passing him over for an associate’s position, one given to Mike Dunlap, who last week said he’d likely accept the job.
The job has yet to be declared open, but with the departure of former UA assistant Miles Simon, one assistant’s position will become available.
“Both coach Olson and Mr. Livengood said, “do what’s best for Josh. They wanted me here in the program, but they want what’s best for Josh. …
“One day I’d love to come back here.”