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VOL. 133 | NO. 55 | Friday, March 16, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Waiting on Hardaway, Campaign Habits and Hasheem Thabeet's Shadow

By Bill Dries

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Penny Hardaway’s formal hiring as the new Tigers basketball coach is expected next week and you can almost hear all of the resume’s hitting Hardaway’s email as he puts together a staff. Hardaway’s name first surfaced as a possible coach in the last days of Josh Pastner, pre-Tubby Smith. It's only become stronger and better developed since then.

For some this is a case of Memphis for Memphians. For others, there is the cautionary tale of the last former Tigers player to become coach – Larry Finch. Then there is something of a track record, as pointed out in Don Wade’s “The Press Box” column, in the time Hardaway has been the coach at East High School and has run afoul of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association in a matter that is still in court.

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News on the exit of Tubby Smith and what it says about the university.

Candidate forums can be overwhelming when the candidate count is close to the count of voters who are undecided or not part of one of the campaigns. For candidates, which to go to and which to skip are a fundamental part of campaign strategy.

Campaigns are about getting more votes than the other folks in the race. The act of campaigning is not about avoiding those other people as you look for votes. At some point, usually early in a campaign, rival candidates commonly show up at the same events. Then it becomes about avoiding the crowds and forums where the candidates may outnumber the voters. And that’s what we look at along with a few notes from the campaign trail.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant expects to appoint an interim U.S. Senator before April when veteran Senator Thad Cochran leaves office. And Bryant says it will not be Chris McDaniel, who gave Cochran a run for his money the last time the seat was up and who is running this time around in a challenge of Mississippi’s other Republican Senator Roger Wicker. Bryant also says national Republican leaders won’t influence his decision but he expects his choice will be someone President Donald Trump will campaign for in the special election coming later this year.

In our Friday Sports Section:

The Grizz are certainly locking down the top NBA draft pick with an unparalleled losing streak. But Grizz fans watching the arc of Grit ‘n’ Grind are nervous because of what the team has done with a top draft pick beforeHasheem Thabeet? 2009 draft?

As expected Kermit Davis from Middle Tennessee is the new coach at Ole Miss.

And Dave Link walks us through Tennessee’s history in the big dance.

Stephanie Butler from United Way of the Mid-South is the new executive director of the Children’s Museum of Memphis.

New rankings on women in business highlights the role of women at First Horizon.

The city’s third TCAT – Tennessee College of Applied Technology – campus is expected to begin construction next year in Bartlett at the northwest corner of Appling Road and Brother Boulevard. And the Bartlett center is aimed at keeping the production of medical devices and the jobs around it in Shelby County.

It’s been a while since anybody here said the A-word – Amazon. The competition among 20 other cities for Amazon’s HQ2 continues and in several cities it has spawned opposition movements. The Guardian on Amazon- post Memphis.

In advance of John Prine’s Sept. 15 show at the Orpheum, which follows a new album next month, here is a Rolling Stone Q&A with Prine.

U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant is our guest on “Behind The Headlines” and you’ve already read about his comments from the interview on immigration in our piece earlier this week on DACA. We covered lots of other topics during the interview which airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story by Andy Meek in our weekly, The Memphis News, is a survey of the arts in Memphis and the bold directions being taken by these institutions to keep the arts relevant and relevant to who and what Memphis is today.

The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. Hard copies go in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

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