Hollins to Speak at Southwest Tennessee Community College Commencement

By Don Wade

On May 3, 2013, Lionel Hollins was overseeing the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-round playoff-series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum.


This year on May 3, Hollins will be at the Landers Center in Southaven delivering the commencement address to Southwest Tennessee Community College’s 2014 graduating class.

The Grizzlies did not retain Hollins after last season, which included the Grizzlies winning a franchise-high 56 games and reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time. Instead, Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien promoted assistant coach Dave Joerger to the head coaching position.

The Grizzlies won 50 games this season under Joerger and are in the midst of a first-round series with Oklahoma City that continues with home games on Thursday, April 24 and Saturday, April 26.

Hollins, who still lives in the Memphis area, has expressed a desire to return to a head coaching position in the NBA.

“Of course,” Hollins told the Portland Tribune. “I miss coaching.”

Hollins reportedly turned down at least one offer to be an NBA assistant for the 2013-2014 season and was not considered a serious contender for any of several head coaching vacancies last off-season. Nor has his name been linked to current openings with the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks.

Karen Nippert, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Southwest, said the school is making a “small donation” to Lionel Hollins Charities to show their appreciation for giving the commencement address. She said school president Nathan Essex believed Hollins was a good choice as a commencement speaker on several fronts.

“(Essex) just thought he would be an excellent speaker and role model,” Nippert said.

Hollins received a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Arizona State University, but before that earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Dixie Jr. College in Utah.

“We thought that was a good example for our students, for continuing their education,” Nippert said.

In the Portland Tribune interview, Hollins talked about why he missed coaching.

“What I miss is the teaching … the development of the team and the players … the players working together and watching them grasp it mentally, and then have them go out and do it physically.”