Damon Stoudamire told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that he'll be "forever indebted" to Memphis coach Josh Pastner for hiring him two years ago, even as he appears to be headed to the Arizona Wildcats as an assistant coach.
Stoudamire has not returned multiple messages but the Memphis Commercial-Appeal interviewed him late Sunday night. (The link requires a subscription.)
"The conversation I had to have with Josh, that was probably the toughest conversation that I had to have in my life in terms of telling somebody that I was leaving because I have respect for him for a lot of things," Stoudamire told the Commercial-Appeal. "He hired me when nobody else wanted to hire me. That's big to me and, like I said, I'll forever be indebted to him."
Pastner hired Stoudamire in the spring of 2011, when he was also a candidate for an assistant coaching job at UA that was offered to Joe Pasternack.
At the same time, Stoudamire said he looked forward to re-joining the Arizona, where he played from 1991-95 and returned to graduate in 2008:
"It's just a great opportunity for me to go back to a place where I had great success as a player, and now to try to go back and have great success as a coach and just kind of add to where they're already at," Stoudamire told the Commercial-Appeal. "It's been a great program for years and they've got a chance to do some great things. I look forward to it."
Arizona has not announced any hiring on the UA basketball coaching staff. James Whitford left his post as associate head coach last month to become the head coach at Ball State.
More Stoudamire background:
His hiring at Memphis in 2011.
His official bio at Memphis.
Slam's 2012 story on his rehabilitated image.
A Commercial-Appeal account last fall of his contributions to the Tigers.
His career stats and salaries.
Sean Miller had a few words about the transfer trend during his visit to Phoenix last week.
Javier Morales weighs in on the transfer issue at Arizona.
A UCLA fan site says Arizona is now "Transfer U."
ESPN's Myron Medcalf says Kaleb Tarczewski is Miller's most important returnee next season.
The Indianapolis Star had an in-depth look at Whitford's first month in Muncie.