Memphis Hoops Coach Price Resigns
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Memphis basketball coach Tic Price resigned suddenly Sunday night, eight days before he was to begin his third season at the Conference USA school.
No reason was given for the resignation.
Athletic Director R.C. Johnson appointed associate head coach Johnny Jones interim coach for this season. A national search to fill the position on a permanent basis will begin immediately, according to a statement from the school.
Price had won two Sun Belt Conference championships at New Orleans before taking over for Larry Finch at Memphis. The Tigers were 17-12 in his first season, losing to Fresno State in the second round of the NIT.
Last season they were 13-15 and the one of the best players from that team, guard Jimmie Hunter, was declared ineligible after the season and left school.
The news about Price was a surprise to members of the team, which is scheduled to leave Friday for the Maui Invitational. They meet Georgetown in the opening round on Nov. 22.
``This means we’ve got to get ready and start over. We’ve got to regroup,″ junior guard Marcus Moody said Sunday night after the team had a meeting with Jones.
Price was introduced at Memphis on March 27, 1997, after Finch’s contract was bought out following falling attendance and fan criticism over recruiting disappointments in Memphis area high schools.
Price had a 63-27 record at New Orleans.
Jones, 37, is in his third year at Memphis after serving as associate head coach at LSU from 1994-97.
Jones, known for his recruiting skills, played on the 1980-81 LSU team that won the Southeastern Conference championship and advanced to the Final Four.
At LSU, Jones had 536 points, 271 assists and 136 steals in 121 games.