Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pastner to Memphis: Good for him

Let's get this out of the way first, I'm a big fan of Josh Pastner. Who isn't really?

The ultimate bench guy during his years as an Arizona player, almost everyone in Wildcat Nation has fond memories of his playing days. Or lack there of. If Pastner was going to play, the Cats had won the game. If Pastner scored, it was a great night.

When he graduated in 2000 the opportunity to coach for the Cats opened. It was good news for all Wildcat fans. He'd be on the bench for another 8 years.

A monster recruiter he helped spot talent and convince them that Tucson is the place to be. Lute Olson is the guy to learn from. UCLA, Stanford, Oregon are the teams you want to play year after year.

Monday he made it official. He's leaving Tucson to be an assistant for the University of Memphis Tigers.

Good for him.

It was the right move, in the long run for both the Cats and Pastner.

Let's be honest. Pastner was never going to be the "next" head coach at Arizona. That's not to say he'll never be the head coach at Arizona. I think he might be. But he needs more experience, he probably needs to be a head coach before he can assume the duties in Tucson. He's on his way to doing that.

Looking into my crystal ball, Pastner could/should be at Memphis for 5 to 7 years. Meanwhile back in Tucson, Olson coach for another 3 to 5 season, retires and is replaced by on outside head coach-someone of the class of Mark Few (head coach at Gonzaga).

Pastner then takes a head coaching job at a Northern Arizona type school. He's head coach there for 5 to 10 years. At Arizona, the Few type coach retires after 10 seasons. Pastner is now in his late 40s and has been a head coach. He gets the Arizona job and is welcomed back to Tucson.

It's the perfect road map for everyone.

"I did nothing without consulting Coach Olson and Mr. (Jim) Livengood (UA's athletic director) about it. They both agreed that this would allow me to stretch and expand and get better. Tucson is my home," Pastner said Monday.

If Pastner was going to leave prior to Olson leavening there is no better time this year. He is leaving a team that seems to be falling apart at the seems, at least from an outsiders view. He's leaving a team that is replace all the other assistants. He's leaving a team with a head coach who clearly wants to stack his staff with experienced assistants.

He's going to team that is up and coming. He is going to a team that should have won the national championship in 2008.

It like watching your son or daughter go off to college. Your sad to see them go, but you know it's the best thing for them. Plus they can always come home.

"One day I'd love to come back here," Pastner said Monday. "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."

Good luck Josh. We'll miss you and well look forward to seeing you back in Tucson in 20 years. Maybe you'll even have golden hair by then!

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