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September 28, 2012
Young and talented...featured by MBCA
Quick, name the person who appears on the NCAA Division I men's basketball youngest head coaches list and yet has already coached 12 NBA lottery picks?
If you're stumped, don't feel bad. There are many college hoops experts that may not even know.
The answer to the question is University of Memphis head coach Josh Pastner, who took over the reins of the Tiger basketball program at 31 years of age on Apr. 7, 2009. Although he is the third-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I, Pastner has a resume that many would like to have.
Speaking of those Pastner's NBA lottery picks, the names make up a list of who's who in "The League." The players are Jason Terry, Channing Frye, Jarryd Bayless, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Michael Dickerson and Mike Bibby from his time at Arizona. Then, add to that, Emeka Okafor, T.J. Ford and Daniel Gibson when Pastner coached the Houston Hoops summer squad, and that's rather impressive.
Pastner added two more players to his NBA Draft lottery list when Arizona's Jordan Hill and Memphis' Tyreke Evans were two of the 2009 NBA Draft's top 13 selections.
Pastner's impressive resume, though, doesn't end there. He's won an NCAA title as a player at Arizona (1997), and also made a trip to the NCAA championship game while on the Wildcats' staff (2001). As an assistant coach since 2003 (six years at Arizona, one year at Memphis), Pastner's teams advanced to four NCAA Sweet Sixteens and two Elite Eights. In fact, Pastner has participated in the NCAA Tournament all 13 years he has been involved in college basketball as a player, staff member or assistant coach.
And now, he brings that exceptional background to the role as the 17th head coach in Memphis basketball history.
Pastner came to Memphis as an assistant coach in May of 2008, and in only his first season as an assistant on the staff in 2008-09, he helped the Tigers continue their rarefied success. Last year, Memphis continued its magical ride with a 33-4 overall record and another perfect 16-0 mark in the Conference USA regular season -- the program's third-straight year of perfection in league play.
The Tigers entered the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen on a school-record 27-game win streak, also the longest in the nation. This past year's Sweet Sixteen appearance was the program's fourth straight, tying a school mark.
Memphis made it another sweep of the C-USA crowns, winning the league's tournament for a fourth-consecutive season. The Tigers also jumped into the top five of both national polls, reaching as high as the No. 2 spot. Memphis finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 2 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. In the final coaches poll after the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers were ranked No. 9.
Pastner came to Memphis after a successful six-year stint as an assistant coach on Hall of Famer Lute Olson's staff at the University of Arizona. From 2003-08, Arizona averaged nearly 23 wins per season (137-60 record; .695 winning percentage), captured two Pac-10 regular season championships (2003, 2005) and advanced to two NCAA Tournament regional finals (2003, 2005). The Wildcats earned NCAA Tournament berths in each of Pastner's six seasons as an assistant coach.
Pastner, who was with the Arizona program as a player, administrator and coach since 1996, was a key cog in the Wildcats' recruiting efforts and working with the program's big men.
In his six seasons as an assistant in Tucson, Pastner's tireless efforts on the recruiting trail paid big dividends, as the Wildcats continued to successfully recruit top-notch student-athletes. Arizona's recruiting classes were among the best nationally in each of his six seasons as an assistant. In June of 2005, then-Rivals.com's writer and current Memphis Grizzlies' general manager Chris Wallace named Pastner one of college basketball's top 25 recruiters, writing, "Any list of top recruiters must include Pastner." In May 2008, FoxSports.com rated Pastner as the No. 7 high-major recruiter in the country. And just recently, Basketball Times named Pastner the No. 5 assistant coach in the country in the publication's April 2009 issue.
During his time at Arizona, Pastner was also involved in a wealth of charitable organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, Boy Scouts of America, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Naval Special Warfare Foundation, Special Olympics and various local law enforcement support groups to name a few. His charitable efforts got him named to the Tucson Business Edge's "40 Under 40" list for 2007. The honor recognizes local business leaders under 40 years of age. The annual list not only recognizes recipients for professional success, but community involvement, public service and participation in trade groups or professional organizations.
Pastner played in 42 games as a Wildcat and finished his career with an average of 0.9 ppg. The Wildcats were 42-0 in the games in which he appeared.
Despite his lack of playing time, Pastner's presence in the Arizona program was invaluable, performing many of the small "behind-the-scenes" things that helped the team win the 1997 NCAA championship and two Pac-10 titles (1998, 2000) during his career. Pastner helped break down game tapes and scout opponents, and he was the shot specialist for many of the Wildcat players. In his 12 overall years with the program, Arizona had a 290-103 record (.738 winning percentage).
Pastner earned his bachelor's degree in Family Studies from Arizona in December 1998, two-and-a-half years after enrolling, the fastest an Arizona student-athlete has ever earned a degree. He finished his master's in Teaching and Teacher Education in December 1999 before beginning work on his doctorate. In his role as an undergraduate assistant in 2000-01, Pastner began pursuit of another undergraduate degree.
Despite taking as many as 33 units a semester while at Arizona, Pastner maintained a high grade-point average, was nominated for the CoSIDA/GTE Academic All-America team and was named to the Academic All-Pac-10 second team as a senior in 2000.
On May, 16, 2009, Pastner married the former Kerri Lamas, and the couple resides in Memphis.