Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway isn’t going anywhere.
Despite emerging as the frontrunner for the recently-opened NBA head coaching job in Orlando, the former Magic point guard has announced the decision to stick with his current position at the University of Memphis.
The Tigers head coach took to Instagram on Tuesday evening to announce his intentions to stay with his college basketball alma mater in Tennessee.
“I love my hometown. I love my city,” Hardaway said. “Just like I had dreams coming out of college to make it to the NBA… one day in the future I would love to coach in the NBA. And wouldn’t that be great if it were the Orlando Magic?
“But today isn’t that day.”
Instead of proceeding with the Magic’s interview process, which he reportedly began last week, Hardaway will continue as the Tigers’ head coach for the fourth season in 2021-22.
“I’m here with my players, the fans and this city, working as hard as I can to try to bring us a national championship. That’s what I set out to do,” Hardaway said. “I’m going to be here. I don’t want you guys to be afraid I’m going anywhere.”
This sentiment echoes Hardaway’s statements made when rumors first began surfacing earlier this month.
“I’m definitely flattered by that situation,” he said, per Memphis insider Mark Giannotto. “My heart is in Memphis. I’m here. I love the Tigers. I love our fans. I started off doing something and I want to finish that.”
Penny Hardaway to @Greg_Gaston and @Eli560 about Orlando Magic job: “I’m definitely flattered by that situation. My heart is in Memphis. I’m here. I love the Tigers. I love our fans. I started off doing something and I want to finish that.”
— Mark Giannotto (@mgiannotto) June 7, 2021
Through his three years with Memphis so far, Hardaway has led the Tigers to a 63-32 overall record and three 20-win seasons. As a player in 1991-93, the former star averaged 20.0 points per game for the program.
Hardaway’s rise to NBA stardom took place in Orlando. Through six seasons with the organization, the No. 3 overall pick broke out as one of the most electric players in the league — notching four-straight All-Star appearances and averaging 19.0 ppg.
The Magic, who parted ways with Steve Clifford earlier this month, will now have to look elsewhere for their new head coach.
San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, LA Clippers assistant Kenny Atkinson and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham have all been reportedly linked to the job opening.