Southwest Tennessee Community College announces the hiring of Jarrett M. Stephens as athletic director and the new head coach of the Saluqi men’s basketball team, effective Aug. 16, 2021. Stephens, a Cleveland, Ohio native with ties to the Memphis community, has more than a decade of intercollegiate basketball coaching experience.
“I believe Coach Stephens can advance our program athletically and academically,” Southwest President Tracy D. Hall said. “He has an excellent track record for helping student athletes move on to the next level on the court and in the classroom. His strong ties to Memphis will help him be a powerful advocate who can generate increased community awareness, engagement, goodwill and investment in our students and athletic program.”
Stephens looks forward to taking the reins of Southwest athletics. “I’m honored to take over a program that not only has a tradition of success built on the shoulders of legendary Coach Verties Sails Jr., but also has had recent success,” Stephens said. “Our student athletes will represent Southwest Tennessee Community College with integrity, and when people think of our program and department, they will think of excellence,” Stephens said. “I’m excited to get back to Memphis and am ready to get to work!”
Stephens leaves his current position as the assistant men’s basketball coach under head coach Robert McCullum, 2020-2021 MEAC & NABC Coach of the Year, at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee. Prior to his four years at FAMU, Stephens served as assistant men’s basketball coach for Indian River State College (2012-2014) and Clark Atlanta University (2008-2009). He also served as the associate head men’s basketball coach at his alma mater, LeMoyne-Owen College (2009-2010), where he fulfilled coaching and operations responsibilities as head coach of men’s and women’s cross-country and director of Intramural Sports.
Memphis coaching heavyweights weighed in on the College’s selection:
“Excited to see that Southwest hired Jarrett. He will build a winning culture and take them back to the glory days of Coach Sails. Great hire!” – Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, University of Memphis Head Men’s Basketball Coach
“I am so excited for Southwest Tennessee Community College and Coach Stephens. It is an excellent fit for both parties, and for someone who knows how important basketball is to the city of Memphis, coach Stephens will do one heck of a job with that program in that city. Without a doubt coach Stephens will be hanging banners both with academic accolades and championships on the floor in the Verties Sails Gymnasium.” –Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery also praised the selection:
“Coach Stephens is a terrific hire for Southwest Tennessee Community College, as he brings the experience and the national network to recruit highly talented players from across the country. Coach Stephens will definitely have an impact on the college’s athletic program and will be a vital advocate for the students and the overall institution.”
Stephens began his career coaching youth as a varsity basketball coach for Treadwell High School in Memphis, Tennessee in 2001 and later coached for Westwood High School in Ft. Pierce, Florida in 2010. He was selected as one of six coaches to represent the United States in the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival (2005) where he earned a Silver Medal, and in 2011 was named the Amateur Athletic Union’s national director of skills development for the AAU All-American Camps, a collection of elite basketball camps across the country. This experience led him to IMG Academy, a boarding school known for cultivating top high school student athletes, where he served as head NBA skills trainer, camp director and associate head coach of the Varsity National Team from 2014 to 2017, leading the team to a MaxPreps #1 ranking and USA Today #4 designation with a record of 28-2 during his final season.
Stephens has coached elite athletes throughout his career, from high school to junior college to university. Many of his players that have gone on to play for Division I schools and in the NBA include Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls), Cameron Payne (Phoenix Suns), O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies), Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic), Rodney Hood (Toronto Raptors), Skal Labissiere (LA Kings), Trevon Duval (Milwaukee Bucks), Lance Thomas (Brooklyn Nets), Dewayne Collins (Miami), Michael Washington (Arkansas), Emmitt Williams (LSU), Wayne Ellington (Detroit Pistons), and Keyontae Johnson and Isaiah Stokes (University of Florida).
Stephens received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and government at LeMoyne-Owen College in 2000 and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Florida A & M University in 2021.