'He was tired of hearing it': Penny Hardaway gets first tech as Memphis basketball coach
Penny Hardaway strolled into the postgame news conference after Thursday's 99-84 win over SMU having just officially notched career victory No. 100.
The fifth-year Memphis basketball coach proudly wore a baseball cap, given to him by his players, with "100" embroidered on it. But before Hardaway ever even sat down behind the microphone, he made a proud declaration to the assembled media related to something else entirely.
"First technical!" Hardaway proclaimed, in reference to the technical foul he received midway through his fifth season as a college basketball coach at Memphis, his alma mater.
With 15:55 left in Thursday's home game against SMU, and the Tigers (16-5, 6-2 AAC) leading 64-43, referee Pat Adams assessed a personal foul on Memphis' Keonte Kennedy.
The call drew Hardaway's ire. As both teams went to their respective benches for the first media timeout of the second half, the normally mild-mannered coach loudly protested as he walked out to midcourt. A few seconds later, Adams blew his whistle and handed Hardaway the first technical foul of his career.
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He said he wasn't intentionally trying to goad Adams into dishing it out.
"I've done that plenty of times this year and didn't get a technical," he said. "So maybe I just pushed it a little bit more. I thought that was a great play. We teach that and we want to be rewarded for that and not punished for that. Keonte made a great play on the ball.
"Referees can be wrong. But I also had a play with him earlier with Kendric (Davis) on a charge, and he and I talked about it. So, at that point, he was tired of hearing it. I usually never talk to the refs, but Pat heard me loud and clear."
Memphis forward Chandler Lawson has played for Hardaway for many years dating back to East High School and beyond. He said it was the first time he has ever seen his coach hit with a tech.
"Pretty much, every ref is really like a fan," he said. "So, they're really like, they're happy that he really just said something to them. So, it was really shocking to see a ref tech him up, because Penny is really just a nice guy. I was surprised, but I knew it was coming, because he kept saying, 'C'mon, the foul count is 6-1, ref. C'mon, you gotta show us something down here on the other end.' "
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Penny Hardaway gets first technical foul as Memphis basketball coach