Penny Hardaway agrees to 5-year extension with Memphis Tigers

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has agreed to a five-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season, the school announced Monday.

The extension is worth $12.25 million over the five years, starting at $2.325 million in 2021-22 and 2022-23, increasing to $2.5 million the next two years and then $2.6 million for the final year of the contract.

"Coach Hardaway has rejuvenated Memphis basketball and has shown tremendous leadership in the Tigers program," Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch said. "He has had top-ranked recruiting classes and is establishing the foundation of a nationally competitive program. I have really enjoyed working with him, and we are excited to have Coach lead our program in the many years to come."

Hardaway, a Memphis alum and native who was a high school and AAU coach in the area for several years after his retirement from the NBA, was hired by the Tigers in 2018 to replace Tubby Smith. The Tigers went 22-14 in his first season, but Hardaway signed the nation's No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2019 to increase expectations entering Year 2.

No. 1 recruit and eventual No. 2 NBA draft pick James Wiseman played only three games before being suspended by the NCAA and left the program in the middle of the season. Wiseman's departure combined with injuries and inexperience resulted in a 21-10 season.

"Coaching at Memphis is my dream job," Hardaway said. "I'm so thankful for the board of trustees, President Rudd, Laird Veatch and all of our loyal donors and fans for their continued support. Memphis basketball is in the national spotlight, and we are continuing to get better and better every day. The future is bright for the Tigers."

Memphis, a borderline preseason Top 25 team, is off to a 5-3 start this season.

Last spring, Memphis decided its NCAA case involving Wiseman would go through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process rather than the NCAA. Wiseman was suspended 12 games last season after the NCAA alleged that Wiseman's family received $11,500 from Hardaway to move from Nashville to Memphis in 2017. The NCAA classified Hardaway as a booster due to his $1 million donation to the school in 2008 for a sports Hall of Fame.