Damon Stoudamire, who previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis from 2011-13, will return to the Tigers basketball bench in a similar role pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents, head coach Josh Pastner announced Monday. Stoudamire takes the place of Aki Collins, who leaves to pursue other opportunities.
“I want to say thank you to Aki Collins for the outstanding job he’s done for us the past three years.” Pastner said. “I have great respect for Coach Collins. He has been a huge asset for our program and is a head coach in-the-making. I know he will continue to be highly successful in his next opportunity.”
Stoudamire returns to the Bluff City after spending two seasons on the University of Arizona basketball staff from 2013-15. In his two seasons in Tucson, Stoudamire helped lead the Wildcats to consecutive 30-win seasons (33-5 in 2013-14; 34-4 in 2014-15), two Pac-12 Conference regular-season titles, one Pac-12 Conference Tournament crown and back-to-back NCAA Elite Eight appearances.
“We are very excited to welcome Damon Stoudamire back to the University of Memphis,” Pastner said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge as both an experienced coach and a former standout NBA player. I believe adding Damon to our staff will make an immediate impact on our guard play and perimeter defenses and will also bolster our recruiting efforts. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add a coach of Damon’s caliber to our staff.”
Before his time at Arizona, Stoudamire spent two seasons on the Tigers sidelines from 2011-13. Memphis compiled a 57-14 record (26-9 in 2011-12; 31-5 in 2012-13) in his two seasons and made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the third round in 2013. In addition to the NCAA Tournament berths, the Tigers posted consecutive sweeps of the Conference USA (regular season and tournament) crowns, including a perfect 16-0 regular-season league record in 2012-13.
Before joining the Tigers staff, Stoudamire served as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies from 2009-11. In the 2010-11 campaign, he helped direct the Grizzlies to a 46-36 record and an NBA Playoffs first-round upset of the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. His first season in 2009-10 on the Grizzlies bench saw the team post a 16-game turnaround from the previous campaign.
Prior to his NBA stint, Stoudamire was the director of player development at Rice for the 2008-09 season.
A 2008 Arizona graduate, Stoudamire starred on the court for his alma mater from 1991-95. During his collegiate playing days, Stoudamire led Arizona to a 101-24 record (.808 winning percentage), the 1994 and 1995 Pac-10 Conference championships and a 1994 NCAA Final Four appearance. He was a consensus All-America first team pick in 1993-94. As a senior, Stoudamire was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and captured a share of the Pac-10 Player of the Year award.
Nicknamed “Mighty Mouse,” Stoudamire was the seventh overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He played 13 seasons in the league (1995-2008) for Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio, averaging 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 878 career appearances.
In his initial NBA season in 1995-96, Stoudamire averaged 19.0 points, a career-best 9.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. He also claimed the NBA Rookie All-Star Game MVP trophy that season.
During his second NBA season, he averaged a career-high 20.2 points and also posted averages of 8.8 assists and 4.1 boards in 81 games.
Collins departs the Memphis program after three seasons. During his time in the Bluff City, he helped the Tigers to a combined 73-29 record (.716 winning percentage) as the program transitioned to the American Athletic Conference from Conference USA in the summer of 2013.
With Collins on the bench, the Tigers won one conference regular-season title (2012-13 C-USA) and one league tournament crown (2013 C-USA) and earned two NCAA Tournament berths (2013, 2014), advancing to the third round both seasons. Memphis posted double-digit conference victories each of his three seasons (16-0 in 2012-13; 12-6 in 2013-14; 10-8 in 2014-15).